THE ARRIVAL of Wightlink's new ferry, Victoria of Wight, this summer, will bring timetable changes to the Fishbourne Portsmouth route.

Sailings will be reduced from half-hourly to hourly across most of the week towards the end of 2018 — although the size of the ferry means more cars can travel across on each sailing.

As Wightlink's £30 million new ship joins the fleet, services have been remodelled to recognise that Victoria of Wight can carry around 70 more cars than the Saint class ferries.

There are no mezzanine decks for vehicles to navigate, so the new loading system combined with an hourly service is likely to improve punctuality — with less chance of falling behind schedule, the company said.

Chief executive Keith Greenfield also confirmed new engineers had been employed to help avoid the problems of cancellations that plagued the ferry company last summer.

Wightlink has responded to feedback from customers by adding more evening sailings and 50 per cent more Multilink Pass spaces for regular travellers.

Wightlink's new winter timetable for 2018/9 will be open for bookings in the next few weeks.

Mr Greenfield said: "Since I arrived at Wightlink 18 months ago, I have listened to customers and to feedback from the Transport and Infrastructure Taskforce.

"They told me they would like to see more evening sailings in the schedule. Islanders with Multilink Passes said they wanted more spaces set aside for these discounted fares on sailings from Fishbourne to Portsmouth.

"We are pleased to address both these issues in our latest timetable which benefits from the environmentally friendly, hybrid energy ship Victoria of Wight."

Extra sailings will be scheduled if there is demand at busy times.

There will be no changes to the timetables on the Yarmouth Lymington or Ryde Portsmouth routes next winter.