Sat. Jul 4th, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

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Red Jet plans to make a speedy return to service

3 min read
Red Funnel is pleased to announce that it is reinstating its Hi-Speed Red Jet service

Red Funnel is pleased to announce that it is reinstating its Hi-Speed Red Jet service, between Southampton and West Cowes on a limited timetable, effective Monday 29 June.

The Red Jet service has been suspended since 18 April following reduction in demand and the need to maintain resilience within the Red Funnel operation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to support the requirements of customers such as key workers and commuters returning to work, as well as those travelling to and from the island in line with current government guidance, the restarted service will initially offer three crossings in the morning and three in the evening from each side of the Solent, seven days a week.

The revised daily timetable has been determined in line with regular commuter and peak travel times, and will be as follows:

Departing Southampton (Terminal 2):

  • Morning: 05:15, 06:45, 08:15
  • Evening: 15:45, 17:15, 18:45

Departing West Cowes:

  • Morning: 06:00, 07:30, 09:00
  • Evening: 16:30, 18:00, 19:30

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing our Red Jet service back into operation having had to take the difficult decision to suspend the service back in April. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our Hi-Speed customers and team back on board and I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our customers and staff for their ongoing patience and understanding during what has been one of the most difficult times in Red Funnel’s 160 year history. The last few months have been extremely challenging for both our customers and our teams, and reinstating the Red Jet service feels like a significant step in the right direction. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming customers back on board next Monday and hope to be able to increase the service in line with the relaxing of government restrictions.”

The capacity of the Red Jet fleet will be limited to allow social distancing, and customers will continue to be encouraged to socially distance for their safety and wellbeing. Passengers are asked to take heed of new signage and markings installed on board and inside Red Funnel’s terminals. On board signage will show passengers which seats are in use to allow adequate distancing between passengers when travelling. Face coverings continue to be mandatory for all passengers, except in specific cases of exemption, as outlined by the government.

Customers will be kept up to date of any changes as and when Red Funnel is able to add more crossings or increase capacity. The company endeavours to return to a full timetable and increased capacity as soon as it is able to do so and will continue to adapt its operations in line with the latest government advice.

Red Funnel is also pleased to announce that a limited range of food and drinks is now available on board its vehicle ferries, and from 26 June will also be available from Terminal 1 in Southampton. Food and beverages are to be consumed either on outside decks or purchased as a takeaway to be enjoyed after the crossing. The range will include hot and cold drinks, and pre-packaged food including sandwiches, baked goods and snacks. In addition, Red Funnel’s Signature Lounge has now reopened, limited to 20 passengers per crossing. The cost of entry will be reduced by 50% to £5 per person to reflect the temporary suspension of the Lounge’s normal food and beverage offering, but includes a takeaway beverage at the end of the crossing.

Fran Collins added: “With these changes to our retail offering and our Red Jet service back in place, we expect to see changes in demand for our vehicle ferries, particularly during peak travel times as the Red Jet is often the preferred service for commuters. I want to emphasise that it is safe to travel with Red Funnel and that we have implemented a myriad of measures to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of our staff and passengers. I encourage customers to visit www.redfunnel.co.uk/SailSafe to review these measures ahead of sailing with us, and continue to advise that the public assess their travel needs before using our ferry services.”

For the time being, the Quayconnect shuttle bus service in Southampton will remain suspended until further notice. Food and beverage services also remain suspended in East Cowes, West Cowes and Southampton (Red Jet) Terminal 2, as well as hot food on board Red Funnel’s vehicle ferries.