Minimum service level must be implemented for Fastcat, say Isle of Wight transport users’ group

Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users’ Group say the hovercraft “is not an acceptable alternative” and the FastCat needs to return to service

new fastcat catamarans

Stuart shares this response to the Island Line franchise news from the Isle of Wight Bus and Rail Users’ Group (IWBRUG). Ed


IWBRUG has issued a call for the Ryde – Portsmouth catamaran service to be restored immediately and for there to be a minimum service level requirement in the future.

Stuart George, Chairman of IWBRUG said,

“During lockdown we accepted ferry operators working together in the best interests of Islanders, but now with the restrictions being relaxed, it is no longer acceptable for the catamaran service to be suspended indefinitely.

“The hovercraft is not an acceptable alternative.”

Wightlink has announced an increase to its car ferry service on the Fishbourne – Portsmouth route and Hovertravel are now running an increased service, but no date has been given for the resumption of the Ryde – Portsmouth catamaran.  

FastCat an “important link for foot passengers”
Wightlink’s catamaran service is an important link for foot passengers as it is a direct link between Ryde Pier Head station and the main line station at Portsmouth Harbour.

The connection can boast a completely step free access between train and catamaran on both sides of the Solent making it by far the most convenient and easiest route for foot passengers.

Vital link missing for three months
No other foot passenger service can provide such convenience and also run in most weather conditions including high winds. This link has been missing for three months now and needs to be restored immediately.

There are full train services on both sides of the Solent and to still have this gap is a nonsense.

A minimum service level needed
We also believe that, in the longer term, there should be guaranteed connections with rail services at both ends and that this could best be achieved by the Government or another regulator specifying a minimum service level for the catamaran, similar to the franchise requirement for rail services.

Find out more
IWBRUG is the sole independent organisation acting on behalf of the interests of bus and rail passengers on the Isle of Wight. More information can be found on it Website.

IWBRUG welcomes the views of  bus and rail passengers and they can contact us at  [email protected]

Image: davidcjones under CC BY 2.0


Monday, 6th July, 2020 11:25am

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Filed under: Ferry, Hover, Top story, Train, Travel

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1 Comment on "Minimum service level must be implemented for Fastcat, say Isle of Wight transport users’ group"

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Better Red than Bled
Minimum service levels are an absolute no brainer for any transport business that operates in the public sphere. Given that Wightlink came out of what was once a publicly owned Sealink that mall massively undervalued by the Thatcher Government and sold to her friends in Texas, (where Mark Thatcher was first employed) there should be a great deal more oversight of its business model and operation than… Read more »