Mersey Ferries to suspend services as passenger numbers plummet

Passenger numbers on the morning and evening commuter services are down to less than 20 a day amid coronavirus restrictions and Merseyrail services will also be reduced. Tony McDonough reports

Royal Iris
Mersey Ferry Royal Iris approaches the Seacombe terminal. Picture by Tony McDonough


Mersey Ferries services are to to be temporarily suspended from next week as passenger number plummet to just 20 a day due to coronavirus restrictions.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said the morning and evening commuter services on the ferries will be suspended from Monday, April 6, and there will be revised timetables on Merseyrail and on the city region’s bus network.

The hourly pleasure cruises had already been suspended by Mersey Ferries but the commuter services have remained in operation. However, Government restrictions on the movement of most people means demand for the service has dwindled in recent days.

From Thursday April 2, Merseyrail services will be running between 7am and 7pm, every 30 minutes on all lines. This decision takes into account reduction in passenger numbers, currently down by around 70% on weekday journeys, and to help ensure a reliable service can be maintained.

Bus services are also seeing a decline in passenger numbers and operators are continuing to provide services with revised timetables across the network. The following advice is for those key workers using public transport for essential journeys:

  • Check timetables before you travel each day.
  • Go to websites, journey apps and social media for the latest information
  • Merseyrail users should consider changing your times of travel to meet the network availability.
  • If this is not possible, consider other modes of transport such as bus to make your journey.
  • Mersey Ferries customers should look for cross river rail and bus services.
  • For cross river travel, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has suspended tunnel tolls allowing for reduced    cross river travel costs.
  • Maintain social distancing, there remains sufficient capacity to meet demand and allow this.
  • Use contactless payments if you can.

Mr Rotheram said: “Everyone knows that, other than for essential journeys, you should stay at home and our transport figures reflect that so thank you to people for following that crucial advice to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“I also know how important it is for our key workers to be able to use public transport, so they can get to and from work to carry out essential services in our communities.

“That is why we are working with transport operators to do everything we can to provide the best and most reliable services possible, against a backdrop of extremely challenging circumstances, whilst protecting both people who have to travel and transport staff.”

For the latest travel and timetable information customers should check the Merseytravel and transport operators’ webpages and social media platforms in the first instance and on a daily basis as there are likely to be more changes ahead.

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