Following the Prime Minister’s statement that transport is “important for the delivery of crucial public services”, Hovertravel is today announcing a new timetable which keeps an essential transport link open.
Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, explains: “We are carrying key workers between the Isle of Wight and the mainland, as well ensuring vital supplies of medicines and the Royal Mail continue to flow across the Solent.
To ensure we continue to offer a robust and resilient transport service, we have, today, taken decisive action to firstly amend our timetable to an hourly service, starting from Ryde at 0615 with a last craft from Southsea at 1930, to help these essential travellers get to where they are most needed.
Secondly, we have introduced, thanks to staff volunteers, a new on-demand hovercraft facility which will assist stakeholders to transport key workers or critical supplies at any time of the day or night. At all times and with each of these announcements we fully considered the safety and well-being of our customers and our staff. I would also like to acknowledge the wholehearted commitment of everyone at Hovertravel working to maintain our lifeline link across the Solent. ”
Hovertravel’s new timetable will be operational from 0615 Tuesday 24 March 2020 until further notice and can be viewed here: https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/timetables/. For customers who are booked to travel, including season and travel card holders, and need to change their booking due to the new timetable, Hovertravel has a simple process to transfer bookings to a different service, extend travel periods or put a booking on hold for the future: https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/more-info/hoverflexibility/
Hovertravel has configured its operations with volunteer staff to have a craft ready to depart within 30 minutes during operating hours and in 60 minutes outside of operating hours, with just one phone call. Hovertravel has already offered this 24/7 critical on-demand service to several key stakeholders and any other organisation which needs transport either to or from the Isle of Wight can apply online here: https://www.hovertravel.co.uk/more-info/stakeholder-freight/
All passengers using Hovertravel are being asked to observe Public Health England’s social distancing rules which state: “Coronaviruses can be spread when people with the virus have close, sustained contact with people who are not infected. This typically means spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an infected person”. Hovertravel staff will ask passengers to remain two metres from their fellow travellers in the terminals and whilst getting on and off the craft for the ten-minute journey.