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HOVERTRAVEL: New Hovercraft

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Saw Island Flyer in Southsea - I guess she has been there since the transmission problems. Engineers kept trying trying the different engines, not sure why, but they did appear to be working. When I cam back later she had gone, so fingers crossed she is now fixed. Did answer one question though - you can get two craft on the pad at Southsea! Solent Flyer was also running as well.

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Well.. nearly a year on... and still having to rely on the AP1-88s

 

A revised timetable until the end of February. Its a real shame, I really hope they get the issues sorted out at some stage. It also shows how impressive the old AP1 hovercraft are - still going strong!

 

A revised timetable is currently in operation until 28th February 2017. For further information, please see below or visit our 'Revised Timetable' webpage.

Additional Comments:

Dear Hovertravel Customers,

I have over the last few months sent several apologies as to the current situation and continued delays you have experienced, and whilst I would like to continue to sincerely say how sorry I am for the issues you have faced, I wanted to take this opportunity to advise of the plans and actions we are undertaking to resolve the issues we are facing.

It’s clear to us all the implementation of the two-new craft has had several operational issues, and whilst these are resolvable it’s taking considerably longer than we had planned. In addition, we are managing the continued use of the existing craft. Both issues have been discussed today in a management & staff review, and I would like to advise the following:

  • Solent Flyer & Island Flyer: The new craft fleet is approaching a combined total of 2,000 operational hours, and during this time we have identified areas of improvements. This remedial and upgrade work to enhance the performance is planned in the coming weeks. This will be carried out at Ryde & Woolston by the teams at Griffon Hoverwork & Hovertravel. This will mean we will not have the use of these craft on a continuous basis over the coming weeks.
  • Freedom 90: This craft continues to be operational, and we have committed (and will continue to do so) to invest into her to ensure she is serviceable until we see the new craft into ‘full’ service.
  • Island Express: This craft is currently laid up at Woolston, however the board of directors has confirmed we will be investing in her to ensure she is serviceable in the near future. This will, though, be several weeks while additional parts are purchased.

These aspects in relation to craft availability have prompted us to review the timetable we can offer you. Our objective is to offer confidence in the services we operate. Therefore, for a temporary period we will be operating a one craft timetable until 28th February, as follows:

From Tuesday 10th January until Tuesday 28th February, the Winter Timetable will run with the following cancellations:

  • Mon - Fri Ex Ryde 0730, 0800, 0830, 1600, 1630, 1700, 1730
  • Mon - Fri Ex Southsea 0745, 0815, 0845, 1615, 1645, 1715, 1745

Any passenger booked on any of the above services are asked to please book on an alternative crossing or be on a priority standby.

Any passengers not affected by the cancelled services are asked to be mindful and use their booked time.

NB: If you are booked on a cancelled service as listed above, and are unable or do not wish to transfer to an alternative service. Hovertravel will refund all Wightlink costs from Ryde Pier on production of your receipts – in addition we will offer a complimentary apology voucher for each alternative journey taken. Please approach our cashiers or scan your receipts to info@hovertravel.com (this is for the period and on the services listed above only and to qualify you must have a reservation on a cancelled service).

We have put the following further procedures in place to ensure the least possible inconvenience to all passengers:

  • A priority line will be implemented for all season, travel card and company ticket customers between 0550-0845 & 1620-1745 (Ryde) & 1535-1830 (Southsea) similar to you may have seen at the Festival times.

The company’s objective is to always offer the 15 minute service that so many of you use. In the event the craft are serviceable and available for use, we will re-instate and operate the cancelled crossings at short notice. This will be advised, where possible via our service status or via email updates, although these may be at short notice.

During the period of the revised timetable you may be travelling on any of our craft during this time as we carry out this important work across our fleet. In addition to this, you may see other craft at sea on trials.

I would also add, the company has invested in additional resources with a Project Director joining us from Griffon Hoverwork to work alongside our teams to resolve and implement the new craft for the future of the business. I must stress, Hovertravel is totally committed and all the issues we are facing have solutions.

Once again, I am personally sorry for the inconvenience these issues have caused your daily travel plans. Rest assured, all the staff at Hovertravel are totally committed to resolving the current situation and ask for your understanding during this time. I will be in touch on 21st February with an update on our progress to revert to the 15 minute timetable with 2 craft.

Regards,

Neil Chapman

Managing Director

 

 

 

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Hovertravels service is suspended for technical reasons. Freedom 90's starboard engine shut down mid solent. Unsurprising the craft is 27 years old and has been operating the service alone this week.

http://www.islandecho.co.uk/news/hovers-suspended-due-engine-problem

Edited by isleofwightiow
added news article

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It does seem to be a fairly consistent run of old craft on the route - I wonder how much is done to the fact that its the busy summer period, so the older craft can cope better with the higher pax count...

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14 hours ago, adicat said:

All 3 on Ryde slipway last Thursday with old ones running the service. Are they still having issues with others? 

Island Flyer broke down mid-solent a week or so back made her way very slowly back to ryde having to be pulled up the pad with a forklift. Both Flyers have sat there ever since.

There was a rumour that the MCA had grounded them but it is strongly denied in this article: http://www.islandecho.co.uk/news/island-flyer-action-mid-september

 

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It does seem like there are major problems going on behind the scenes... propellor problems on the new craft, same thing that grounded Solent express! It does seem odd that these two have been brought into service with little or next to no testing at all......

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Surely the technology should be sufficiently familiar by now not to need extensive testing. Or were the new craft bought from the people that gave us the new Cowes floating bridge?

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There is  wider dimension to all this as the National Rail/Southern journey planner now shows this crossing as the default journey to Ryde Esplanade. Through tickets only default to the Cat for Pier Head and through destinations beyond the Esplanade and the price is dearer. Note also it seems to be impossible to book through return  tickets to some Island destinations via Pier Head. When doing this journey in the summer I had to buy a day return from Ryde to Smallbrook on the island.  

Edited by Millsy

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So that's 80 seats per hour each way then out side the peaks in the winter then to ensure a reliable service but back to 120 seats an hour in the summer when a reliable service is most needed?  Reflection of gross over-capacity on footpax routes to Ryde?

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Does anyone know what happened to Freedom 90 and Island Express, do HoverTravel still use these on the odd occasion or have they been sold? I'm assuming so because every time I've seen them or been across in the past year, it has been on the new craft.

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Sad really. Invested in 2 new craft but you feel the service could be at a tipping point. Too much unriability and you lose your regular passengers as they need to get to work with a decent degree of reliability and certainty re timing. The Winter reduction in service is not surprising during off peak but at peak it's a bit annoying for commuters. Doesn't feel you with confidence about new hovercraft reliability. 

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On 09/11/2018 at 18:28, adicat said:

Sad really. Invested in 2 new craft but you feel the service could be at a tipping point. Too much unriability and you lose your regular passengers as they need to get to work with a decent degree of reliability and certainty re timing. The Winter reduction in service is not surprising during off peak but at peak it's a bit annoying for commuters. Doesn't feel you with confidence about new hovercraft reliability. 

It's even worse than that. They're operating a one craft service, and once the missing craft returns from its essential mods there'll be a brief period of overlap for a month or two, and then the second craft will disappear for something like 6-8 weeks. The MD himself has admitted there'll essentially be a one-craft, unreliable, service until both craft are fully back at the end of March. That'll be close to half a year of (recent) disruption during which time, presumably, half their season ticket holders will have been invited to renew. I wonder how many have switched to Wightlink?

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On 12/11/2018 at 14:34, CyberMatt said:

It's even worse than that. They're operating a one craft service, and once the missing craft returns from its essential mods there'll be a brief period of overlap for a month or two, and then the second craft will disappear for something like 6-8 weeks. The MD himself has admitted there'll essentially be a one-craft, unreliable, service until both craft are fully back at the end of March. That'll be close to half a year of (recent) disruption during which time, presumably, half their season ticket holders will have been invited to renew. I wonder how many have switched to Wightlink?

We used to use the Hovercraft on a regular basis for our frequent day trips to the Isle of Wight. However we were getting fed up with the service since switching to the new craft, delays, messing around etc. Not to mention that the price seems to have increased over the past few years for a reduction in service. We have since switched to Wightlink (The car ferries in fact for the scenery). Now if we're doing this for nothing more than pleasure, I wonder how many commuters are doing the same things - perhaps not the car ferries but the catamarans.

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Last Thursday was very windy but the Hovercraft were operating. This was with a SW wind but the tide was rising. Come the afternoon I heard services were suspended but the wind had dropped quite a bit. I guess that with tide against wind there is enough counter action to allow the dash from Gilkicker to Ryde but when the tide turns and wind is with tide that becomes too much of a risk even if the wind is less than earlier.

Edited by adicat

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