This in from Wightlink, in their own words. Ed
Wightlink has announced some changes to its fleet from summer 2015 reflecting changing demand for its services.
With customer statistics revealing that the number of people using the Yarmouth-Lymington route has fallen by almost 15% in the last four years, Wightlink will re-locate one of the three W-class ships that operates in the Western Solent to the Fishbourne-Portsmouth route in early 2015. The vessel will replace St Helen which will be retired.
This decision will not affect the first or last sailings each day and services for commuters will not be altered.
Modernising the fleet
This is the latest stage of Wightlink’s programme to modernise its fleet which has already seen five new ships introduced in the last five years.
Although Wightlink has operated three ships on the Yarmouth-Lymington route in recent years, the third ferry operates just three round trips a day for half the year, providing just eight per cent of the capacity on the route.
Matching capacity with customer demand
Chief Operating Officer John Burrows says:
“Using our fleet as efficiently as possible next year is vital if we are to continue our programme of modernisation and investment, which has seen us introduce five brand new ships within the last five years. To secure the future of our service, we have a responsibility to match the capacity we provide with customer demand and, despite considerable price discounting, adapting our timetable to provide better train connections, improved punctuality and continued high reliability*, demand is falling on our Yarmouth to Lymington route, with customers preferring to use other routes.
“As a result of these changes, customers on our Fishbourne~Portsmouth route will enjoy a more modern ship. Yet, the impact for customers at Yarmouth~Lymington will be minimal. This decision has no impact on our services between October and March and, throughout the summer, we will operate up to 34 sailings a day (17 round trips), on an hourly service. There will be no changes to the first or last sailings of the day and we will continue to offer the late night sailings on key Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer which we recently introduced in response to customer requests.”
* The latest full year data shows that Wightlink has a superb reliability record, operating more than 99% of scheduled sailings on the Yarmouth~Lymington route, 90 per cent of which depart within five minutes of timetable.