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Wightlink announces timetable changes after Christmas, following heightened Covid-19 restrictions

(22 December 2020) Wightlink will suspend its FastCat foot passenger route between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head after Christmas Eve because very few customers are now using the service. 

A Tier 4 ‘stay at home’ lockdown now applies in Portsmouth, as well as in London and much of the South East, to stop the spread of coronavirus.   

  • Isle of Wight residents must not go into Tier 4 areas, unless they are travelling for essential reasons, such as work, education and caring for vulnerable people.   

  • People in Tier 4 must not travel to the Isle of Wight for non-essential reasons and must not stay away overnight.

Due to falling demand, with Portsmouth now in Tier 4, Wightlink’s Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will become a two-hourly service from Monday 4 January 2021 carrying freight, key workers and others whose journeys are permitted under the latest regulations.  

Wightlink’s Lymington-Yarmouth route will continue as a two-hourly service connecting the Island (Tier 1) and the New Forest (Tier 2) where different regulations apply. 

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We are sorry to suspend the FastCats and to reduce the frequency of sailings on our Portsmouth to Fishbourne car ferry route. We know this will be an inconvenience to some essential travellers.   

“As a private operator, we need to minimise our losses and not run services with insufficient demand especially after this difficult year. We recognise that many customers are restricting their travel in line with the Government’s Tier 4 regulations and we fully support them in their decision. We will keep the situation under review in the New Year and, should demand increase, we will be ready to add extra sailings at short notice.” 

Takeaway cafés currently open on ferries and at the ports of Portsmouth, Fishbourne and Lymington will continue to sell food and drink to customers, which is permitted under regulations for all tiers 

Wightlink has already contacted all customers to explain the regulations and is offering all of them the opportunity to change their booking at no charge. 

All Wightlink customers onboard ferries and at ports must follow the Hands Face Space guidance, respecting social distancing and wearing a face covering. 

Wightlink’s ticket acceptance arrangements with Hovertravel will continue until Sunday 31 January 2021. Customers with Wightlink tickets and passes now have no need to book in advance. 

For full details of Tier 4 regulations, see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home