Extensive changes to Wightlink service including FastCat suspension

Wightlink CEO says “As a private operator, we need to minimise our losses and not run services with insufficient demand especially after this difficult year”

new fastcat catamarans

Wightlink will suspend its FastCat foot passenger route between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head after Christmas Eve because very few customers are now using the service. 

A Tier 4 ‘stay at home’ lockdown now applies in Portsmouth, as well as in London and much of the South East, to stop the spread of Coronavirus.   

  • Isle of Wight residents must not go into Tier 4 areas, unless they are travelling for essential reasons, such as work, education and caring for vulnerable people.   
  • People in Tier 4 must not travel to the Isle of Wight for non-essential reasons and must not stay away overnight. 

Portsmouth-Fishbourne route moves to two-hourly service
Due to falling demand, with Portsmouth now in Tier 4, Wightlink’s Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will become a two-hourly service from Monday 4th January 2021 carrying freight, key workers and others whose journeys are permitted under the latest regulations.  

Wightlink’s Lymington-Yarmouth route will continue as a two-hourly service connecting the Island (Tier 1) and the New Forest (Tier 2) where different regulations apply. 

Greenfield: We need to minimise our losses
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says:

“We are sorry to suspend the FastCats and to reduce the frequency of sailings on our Portsmouth to Fishbourne car ferry route. We know this will be an inconvenience to some essential travellers.   

“As a private operator, we need to minimise our losses and not run services with insufficient demand especially after this difficult year. We recognise that many customers are restricting their travel in line with the Government’s Tier 4 regulations and we fully support them in their decision.

“We will keep the situation under review in the New Year and, should demand increase, we will be ready to add extra sailings at short notice.” 

Takeaway cafes currently open on ferries and at the ports of Portsmouth, Fishbourne and Lymington will continue to sell food and drink to customers, which is permitted under regulations for all tiers 

Change your booking
Wightlink has already contacted all customers to explain the regulations and is offering all of them the opportunity to change their booking at no charge. 

All Wightlink customers onboard ferries and at ports must follow the Hands Face Space guidance, respecting social distancing and wearing a face covering. 

Wightlink’s ticket acceptance arrangements with Hovertravel will continue until Sunday 31 January 2021. Customers with Wightlink tickets and passes now have no need to book in advance. 

For full details of Tier 4 regulations, see: see the Website.


News shared by Karen on behalf of Wightlink. Ed

Image: davidcjones under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020 4:41pm

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Filed under: Ferry, Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Top story, Travel

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1 Comment on "Extensive changes to Wightlink service including FastCat suspension"

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Angela Hewitt

Well that should go some small way to appeasing those that want all ferries cancelled