WIGHTLINK has announced the suspension of its Lymington-Yarmouth car ferry route after the last sailing tomorrow (Tuesday) due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The company said fewer people have been travelling on the route in recent weeks and numbers had fallen heavily since last Monday’s announcement by the Prime Minister urging everyone to stay at home.
Wightlink will be concentrating staffing resources on its larger car ferries that cross between Portsmouth and Fishbourne which will have room for the vehicles and people displaced from the Lymington-Yarmouth route.
Chief executive Keith Greenfield said: “We know suspending the service will disrupt the travel plans of some customers and we apologise, but it no longer makes sense to continue operating a route with very few customers while exposing our colleagues to risk.
“We have plenty of capacity on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne ships to carry all the essential travellers who need to cross the Solent at this time.”
Existing Lymington-Yarmouth vehicle bookings are being transferred to the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. Customers can amend their tickets for free online or claim a refund.
Under the leadership of Isle of Wight Council during the coronavirus crisis, all cross-Solent ferry operators are working together to keep the Island connected. Pre-purchased foot passenger tickets will be accepted on Red Funnel and Hovertravel. This includes rail tickets and season tickets.
Christopher Garnett, chairman of the Isle of Wight Transport Infrastructure Board, said: “The board has been meeting regularly with the cross-Solent ferry operators to review the current and developing situation.
“The need to safeguard the essential mainland links and services for the Island remains paramount. But there will be adjustments to services and timetables to ensure our operators remain effective and robust during these critical times.
“In the light of this, the decision to suspend the Yarmouth-Lymington service is unfortunately unavoidable at this point, and we fully support Wightlink in taking this decision in the best interests of the Island.”