RED Funnel has announced it will be increasing its vehicle ferry service later this month with a further 22 sailings per week.

The increase comes as Red Funnel is seeing more demand for its ferry crossings as tourism and leisure businesses reopen on the Isle of Wight and mainland.

The service will be expanded on July 10 and sailings will continue to run at less than normal capacity, with a maximum of 350 passengers or 39 per cent of normal capacity.

The additional sailings will help to ensure Red Funnel is able to offer more space to Islanders and holidaymakers onboard.

Current ferry crossing times will remain as-is with the following crossings now added to the timetable:

Newly added crossings from Southampton:

  • 11:15, 14:15, 17:15 – Monday, Friday, Sunday
  • 11:15, 14:15 – Saturday

Newly added crossings from East Cowes:

  • 12:45, 15:45, 18:45 – Monday, Friday, Sunday
  • 12:45, 15:45 – Saturday

The company will also be increasing the number of freight ferry services on the Red Kestrel to 22 crossings per week, enabling the operator to free up additional space on its passenger ferries and adjust to the increase in demand for freight services over the summer months.

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said: “We are delighted to be increasing our ferry crossings from July 10.

"We continue to see demand growing and anticipate this will increase further as the hospitality and leisure sector reopens from this weekend.

"Red Funnel is committed to supporting the Island’s recovery and these additional sailings are the right step in the right direction at the right time.

"Just as it was Red Funnel’s duty to keep sailing and keep the Island connected and supplied during the height of the pandemic, we’re now beginning to resume our role in supporting the Island’s vital tourism industry.

"We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the Island and likewise welcoming more Islanders back as they start to travel further afield.

"We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure passengers have a good experience with us, and that they can relax and sail safe.”