Concerns were raised last weekend with several Islanders posting to social media that the number of vehicles leaving ferry terminals was higher than they’ve seen in previous weeks.
With the country still in Covid-19 Lockdown and guidance from the Government that people should be taking essential travel only, it was claimed there were ‘loads more’ motorhomes and cars with roof boxes or bikes on racks leaving the ferry terminals in East Cowes and Fishbourne.
News OnTheWight got in touch with Wightlink and Red Funnel on Monday morning to ask for the number of passengers they brought to the Island on 12th-14th February compared to the previous weekend.
Wightlink’s response was short and the point (jump to response), Red Funnel, as we often find, gave a much more detailed and transparent reply.
Red Funnel: Well under our current restricted capacity
A spokesperson for Red Funnel told News OnTheWight that sailings to East Cowes on Friday were 32 per cent lower than the previous Friday. They explained,
“We can confirm that all of our ferry sailings over the weekend (12th-14th February) were well under our current restricted capacity limit and our normal operating limits.
“On our vehicle ferry sailings, which have a current maximum capacity of 250 passengers, our busiest sailing across the weekend was on 12th February from Southampton to East Cowes and carried 125 passengers, which was 32 per cent down compared to the busiest sailing on the previous Friday and just 14 per cent of our normal operating capacity of 895 passengers.
“In fact, the most populated vehicle ferry sailings over the weekend were less than the weekend prior.”
|Fri 5th||Fri 12th||Var||Sat 6th||Sat 13th||Var||Sun 7th||Sun 14th||Var|
|Ferry from Southampton||183||125||-58||120||98||-22||45||52||+7|
|Ferry from East Cowes||194||104||-90||154||105||-50||53||50||-3|
|Red Jet from Southampton||64||53||-11||12||31||+19||27||37||+10|
|Red Jet from East Cowes||70||70||0||18||30||+12||39||34||-5|
The spokesperson continued,
“As always, we are taking government guidelines and restrictions extremely seriously and continue to have all of the necessary measures in place to enable social distancing and ensure a safe crossing for our passengers.”
Slight uptick on the Red Jet
The Red Jet service remained well below the maximum capacity but there was an uptick on Saturday, which had 19 more passengers compared to the previous Saturday. The spokesperson continued,
“Passenger numbers on our Red Jet service also remained well below our current maximum capacity of 148, with the busiest sailing over the weekend carrying 70 passengers on Friday, 12th February from West Cowes to Southampton, which equates to 25% of our normal operating capacity of 279 passengers. This was the same number of passengers that travelled on the busiest sailing on the previous Friday (5 February).
“There was a slight uptick on the Red Jet in that our busiest crossing on Saturday had 19 more passengers compared to the busiest crossing the Saturday prior (i.e. 31 vs. 12 passengers).
“The table above shows the comparative passenger numbers and the variance on the busiest sailings on each route.”
Wightlink: Numbers travelling is still very low
A spokesperson for Wightlink told News OnTheWight,
“We do not release statistics on passengers or vehicles but the number of people travelling on Wightlink’s services is still very low.
“We capped maximum capacities on all ferries at the start of the pandemic and we are carrying fewer than a third of that reduced number on all sailings.”