company_type = Private
industry = Passenger Ferry
homepage = http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/
footnotes = :"For information on hovercraft in general, please see
Hovertravel is a ferry company operating from
Southsea, Portsmouthto Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK. They are the only company operating in Britain with passenger hovercraft, after Hoverspeedstopped using their craft in favour of catamarans. Hovertravel are now the world's oldest hovercraft operator.cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A471412|title=BBC - Hovercraft on the Isle of Wight|publisher=www.bbc.co.uk|accessdate=2008-09-25]
The company operates between Southsea Common, next to Clarence Pier, and
Ryde Transport Interchange. Terminal facilities are provided at both ends, and services run every 30 minutes during daylight hours. However, in high season (generally July and August) the frequency increases to every 15 minutes or less. The crossing time is less than 10 minutes, and is therefore the fastest route across The Solent from land to land.cite web|url=http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/|title=Hovertravel - Homepage|publisher=www.hovertravel.co.uk|accessdate=2008-09-13] However, the inconvenient site of the Portsmouth terminal means this is not reflected for through journeys.
At Southsea, the terminal is located on
Southsea Common, next to Clarence Pier. It is also near to the aquarium, although further from Southsea Castle. It is also a significant distance from Portsmouth Harbour railway stationand Portsmouth and Southsea railway station. This is because when the hovercraft started running in the mid 20th century, the area near Harbour station (the ideal location due to its good connections) was a mixture of residential and naval space, with all remaining land occupied by the fishing harbour and Wightlinkcar ferry terminal.
This problem is solved with a "Hoverbus" link, operated by
Tellings-Golden Miller, which runs between the Southsea Terminal and Portsmouth & Southsea Station and " Portsmouth" city centre. It is timed to connect with all hovers on the basic 30-minute timetable.
The terminal has recently been refurbished with new lighting and toilets and a general cleaning up. A new wall was built separating the Hoverport and the esplanade complete with viewing windows.cite web|url=http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/portsmouth/New-lease-of-life-for.3959911.jp|title=Portsmouth Today - New lease of life for hovercraft terminal|publisher=www.portsmouth.co.uk|accessdate=2008-09-13]
At Ryde, the terminal has recently been rebuilt. The new building was opened by the
Duke of Edinburghin 2004. It is located conveniently near to Ryde Esplanade railway stationand Ryde Bus Station, however passengers must cross the railway by means of a footbridge, as they are located on the opposite side of the line. The whole complex is due for rebuilding, commencing in 2007, in order to create a new transport interchange. Also nearby is the Ryde Arena ice rinkand LA Bowl.
Most bus services connecting with the hovercraft on the Island are run by
Southern Vectis. In addition to these routes, Wightbus, another local operator, run Service 20 that stops nearby. Island Line trains run from there to Brading, Sandown, Lakeand Shanklin, where a connecting bus can take you to Ventnoror St Lawrence. By changing trains at Smallbrook Junction, one can also visit the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Full details of services from near the Ryde terminal can be found at
Ryde Transport Interchange.
A recent innovation is the introduction of "Hoverliner" tickets that allow travel from an origin railway station on the UK mainland, on the Hoverbus, a crossing on the hovercraft and travel on the "Island Line", and return journey. These are also available for journeys starting on the Island, the only difference being the name used, which is "Hoverline".
The Past and current fleet
*Freedom 90 (1990-
*Island Express (2002-
*Solent Express (2007-
*Idun Viking (1998-2002)
Hovertravel hovercraft have occasionally been chartered to operate temporary services across the
Firth of Taybetween Carnoustieand St Andrewsin connection with major golftournaments (due to Carnoustie's relative lack of hotel accommodation). The "Solent Express" was chartered to operate an experimental service across the Firth of Forth(marketed as "Forthfast") between Portobello ( Edinburgh) and Kirkcaldybetween 16-28 July 2007.cite web|url=http://www.stagecoachbus.com/fife/forthfast.html|title=Stagecoach - Fife - forthfast|publisher=www.stagecoachbus.com|accessdate=2008-09-13]
* [http://www.hovertravel.co.uk Hovertravels official website]
* [http://www.bartiesworld.co.uk/hovercraft/hovertravel.htm - History and current details of Hovertravel and hovercraft used]
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