Hythe ferry passenger numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels thanks to tourists
HYTHE ferry has seen passenger numbers increase to pre-pandemic levels thanks to tourists visiting this summer.
The service, which links Southampton and the Waterside, resumed last month after a community campaign to raise £40,000 for maintenance and repairs.
A spokesperson for Blue Funnel Ferries Ltd, which runs the service, said it was seeing a steady flow of passengers and numbers were "very encouraging" with each crossing running close to capacity during the late mornings and afternoons.
Ferry manager Sath Naidoo added: “Passenger numbers are good – in fact, on checking back, during early August they are comparable to 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
"Tourists are joining the boats both from Hythe and Southampton’s Town Quay, with many staying aboard for their return journeys [to get] a short harbour cruise gaining superb close-up views of the returning cruise liners.”
As reported in the A&T, the ferry was forced to stop operating when Covid-19 struck last year and a lack of income made it impossible to pay for the routine maintenance required for it to start up again.
However, funds were secured thanks to the fundraiser and New Forest District, Hampshire County and Southampton City councils which each pledged to give £7,500 a month for three months.