Commuters return to Wightlink’s FastCats

Captain Graeme Bissett welcomes back commuter Steve Long.

Wightlink’s foot passenger service connecting Portsmouth Harbour with Ryde Pier Head started running again yesterday morning, 29th April 2021, in line with the easing of the Government’s Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The first FastCat sailing of 2021 was the 05:15 from the mainland, the first return trip from Ryde at 05:45 had 16 passengers on board. The route was suspended on Christmas Eve 2020.

Regular traveller Steve Long was on the first departure from Ryde on his way to work in Portsmouth. He has been commuting for more than 20 years. “It’s great to be back and I’m sure the FastCats will be very popular this summer. I always enjoy crossing the Solent with Wightlink, the crew are friendly and it’s a good start to the day,” he says.

“We know it’s been a long wait for our regular FastCat customers and we thank them for their patience. We are delighted that our Portsmouth-Ryde service is now back as demand for leisure travel increases,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield.

“Both of our catamarans are Covid-secure at all times with the highest standards of cleanliness. Mask wearing is still required. Our passenger numbers are currently reduced to allow social distancing but our ships and FastCats are spacious and comfortable with plenty of room.”

The route will be an hourly service with two catamarans operating on school holiday weekends and during the Isle of Wight Festival.

During the winter, both FastCats have undergone regular maintenance with dry-docking and refits at the Trafalgar Shipyard in Portchester to ensure they are in the best condition, ready for a busy summer.