Were there more passengers on ferries last weekend? The rumours said yes. News OnTheWight investigates

On social media last weekend it was said more vehicles came off the ferries compared to previous weeks.
News OnTheWight asked the ferry companies. Red Funnel provided the exact numbers. Wightlink just gave excuses

lots of number chalked onto blackboard

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.

Differing responses
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 5thFri 12thVarSat 6thSat 13thVarSun 7thSun 14thVar
Ferry from Southampton
Ferry from East Cowes194104-90154105-505350-3
Red Jet from Southampton6453-111231+192737+10
Red Jet from East Cowes707001830+123934-5

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.”

Image: pixabay under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 16th February, 2021 7:26pm


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

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11 Comments on "Were there more passengers on ferries last weekend? The rumours said yes. News OnTheWight investigates"

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totally meaningless data, totals for the day for each day over both weekends would be a little more meaningful, and wightlink obviously have something to hide. Live in small hamlet 10 permanent residences and 15 holiday lets, traffic has doubled in last few days – just a coincidence??


This continuing farce of people getting away with doing whatever they like, without any controls being enforced, is going to end very badly for our island.


……and where were the police???


And these are the people that we pay extra tax for, what a joke.


Try looking at all the Second home owners now floating around in Bembridge in particular and Seaview


What’s Dave Stewart, Seely and Myles doing to protect us, absolutely nothing as usual. They have a responsibility to protect the Island and residents. Ferries companies are only interested in profit and nothing else. Shame on you all.


police? what has that got to do with anything, the people traveling could be medical staff as essential travel is allowed


Wot, with topboxes and bikes strapped to their cars? I think not

Benny C

Err it’s also half term. Tomorrow, sad to say, I am going to get the police round to speak to both the occupying family and the owner of the holiday let near me. It’s been empty since Xmas to be fair but the rules haven’t altered, except in the owners mind.


Best of luck with that one.

Do you really think the IW Police are in the least bit interested in enforcing lockdown regulations? The haven’t shown any willingness to date, despite wanting us all to pay 7% more in our Council Tax precept.


Don’t be naive people are doing exactly what they want. The job of the police, council and our MP is to protect us, their failing and are negligent.