Just over a month ago during the second round of Coronavirus lockdown measures, Red Funnel temporarily ceased their high-speed RedJet service, forcing those passengers who were still commuting to mainland jobs to use the vehicle ferry (or Hovercraft) instead.
Five weeks later and on Tuesday morning commuter Bethanie William tweeted
OnTheWight got in touch with Red Funnel for their response to the claim the 7.30am ferry was so packed it was impossible to social distance.
RF: Passengers were “just 14% of the usual capacity”
A spokesperson for Red Funnel told OnTheWight,
“Compared to the same time two weeks ago, before the latest government changes on exercise, meeting with one person from a different household and the opening of more businesses, Red Funnel carried only 28 more passengers on the East Cowes to Southampton 07:30 crossing yesterday morning (19 May 2020).
“Red Funnel has reduced its capacity by 72% to allow for a maximum of 250 passengers at any one time – a reduction of 645 passengers from the normal limit of 895. On the 07:30 crossing this morning we carried 127 passengers, which is just over 50% of the new, reduced capacity and just 14% of the usual capacity, so it was well within our ability to achieve social distancing onboard.
Return of the RedJet?
Red Funnel say there has not been a significant increase in passengers to reintroduce the RedJet service. They say,
“With specific regard to the return of the Red Jet service, Red Funnel is still advocating that the public adhere to essential travel only, and at this time customer demand remains relatively low.
“We are confident that there has not yet been a significant increase in passenger numbers in relation to our revised capacity.
“As such, we are still able to support the Island with the minimum service levels as agreed with the Isle of Wight Council and Department for Transport, and at this time will continue to maintain our current, revised service of operation until further notice.”
Passengers reminded to social distance
The Red Funnel spokesperson finished by saying,
“We remind our customers of the need to actively engage and cooperate with Red Funnel to achieve social distancing and encourage passengers to wear a face covering for added protection and, most importantly, to only travel if essential. Social distancing measures include:
- Keeping as much space between yourself and others as possible.
- Observing all social distancing signage.
- Moving around the vessel from time to time and avoiding spending long periods of time next to others who are not from your household.
- Spending a portion of your journey on outer passenger decks, where passengers are likely to find space is more widely available.
- Checking all available A-deck and B-deck lounges to seek out the most open space.
- And sitting directly next to those in your travel group and avoiding putting extra space between yourself and members of your own household. This space is needed to maintain distance between passengers who are NOT members of the same household.
For more information see the Covid-19 FAQs on the Red Funnel Website.
Image: © Paul Brown