Hospital patients and visitors travelling by bus from the Isle of Wight to the mainland can now use their Southern Vectis Rover and Freedom tickets on selected bus routes to the Royal South Hants and Southampton General hospitals.
The Isle of Wight bus operator has teamed up with Go South Coast sister companies Bluestar and Unilink in Southampton to provide seamless ticketing for onward journeys on Bluestar 17 and U6 services.
“We know going to hospital is not always pleasant, and having to travel from the Isle of Wight to the mainland can add extra stress to the whole experience,” said Go South Coast head of communications, Nikki Honer.
“Passengers arriving at Red Funnel’s terminals in Southampton have easy access to both Bluestar 17 and U6 buses - which will take them directly to the hospital - so we wanted to help by giving island residents the opportunity to travel on either service without the need to buy extra tickets.
“Offering people seamless trips between bus companies, with the ferry in-between, will hopefully make their journeys to hospital far less stressful. Even for those who drive, parking at Southampton General Hospital can be tricky - so this is an excellent opportunity for them to leave their cars at home at let our drivers take the strain.”
Isle of Wight councillor Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, added: “The Isle of Wight Council’s Patient Travel Improvement Group has worked closely with Southern Vectis and Red Funnel to help launch an easier and more cost-effective journey to Southampton General Hospital .
“Some may deem it a very small change but it will be very beneficial for patients to make the whole process simpler, easier and to minimise impacts on their health.
“It demonstrates how collaborative working between the statutory Local Care Board partners (Isle of Wight Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the IW NHS Trust), voluntary and private businesses has touched upon the lives of our community in a positive way.”
Jonathan Green, marketing & communications director at Red Funnel, said: “We very much welcome this new ticketing initiative by Southern Vectis and Bluestar who, together with Red Funnel, the NHS, and IW Council, are striving to improve the travel experience for Islanders who have to make the journey to-and-from Southampton’s hospitals. A new Health Travel Guide will be published by Red Funnel in the New Year, containing useful travel advice and information about the special bus and ferry fares available to patients and their families.”