TRAVELLING over the Christmas and New Year period has rarely been trouble-free.

But the continuing coronavirus pandemic and the recent decision to impose even tougher restrictions across Hampshire is making it even more difficult to get about.

Wightlink's FastCat service between Portsmouth and Ryde will be suspended on Boxing Day until further notice.

Another casualty of the soaring infection rate is the passenger ferry that operates between Hythe in the New Forest, which is in Tier 3, and Southampton, which is in Tier 4.

Sailings were suspended on Christmas Eve, also for the foreseeable future.

Below is a guide to the bus, train and ferry services that will be operating over Christmas and New Year.

New Forest Post:

Buses:

Bluestar

Christmas Day: Bluestar 1X and Bluestar 18X will run to special timetables but no other services will operate.

Boxing Day: Sunday service will operate except the Bluestar 6, which will not run.

December 21 and 28: Normal Sunday service all routes.

December 29: Saturday service will run on all routes, with some exceptions. Tuesday service will operate on routes 35, 36, T3, T4, X7 and X7R.

December 30: Saturday service will run on all routes with some exeptions. Wednesday service will operate on routes 35, 39, H1, H2, X7 and X7R.

December 31: Saturday service on all routes with some exceptions. Thursday service on routes 35, 36, T3, T4, X7 and X7R.

New Year's Day: Special timetables on Bluestar routes 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17 and 18. No other buses will be running.

First Southampton:

Christmas Day: No City Red services.

Boxing Day: City Red services 2, 3, 7 and 11 will operate to special timetables. No other City Red services will run.

December 27: Normal Sunday service.

December 28: Normal Sunday service. City Red 9 and 13 will not operate.

December 29: Normal Saturday service on all routes.

December 30: Normal Saturday service on all routes.

New Year's Eve: All services will operate a Saturday service. City Red services 2,3 6, 7 and 11 will finish at about 8pm.

New Year's Day: No City Red services.

A company spokesman said: "Despite all of Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest, moving to Tier 4 our bus routes and timetables remain unchanged."

New Forest Post:

Ferries:

Red Funnel

Despite the new restrictions Red Funnel says its services between the mainland and the Isle of Wight will continue.

The Island is currently in Tier 1 but along with most of Hampshire will be moved up to Tier 3 on Boxing Day.

Red Fennel says it will not be making any immediate changes to its schedule but will be reviewing its timetables going forward.

People should only travel to the Isle of Wight for essential reasons as permitted by the government.

A company spokesperson said: "People must refer to the local restriction tier guide before planning travel to the Isle of Wight.

"Between now and when the new tier changes come into place on December 26, residents of areas currently classed as Tier 3 or Tier 4 should not travel to the Isle of Wight for leisure trips or non-essential reasons. Similarly, Islanders should also avoid travel to Tier 3 and Tier 4."

Customers who need to make changes to their bookings can visit the Red Funnel website or call 023 8001 9192.

Christmas Day will see two departures from Southampton at 9am and noon and two departures from East Cowes at 10.30am and 1.30pm.

The company is also reducing its services to and from the Isle of Wight between December 27 and January 4.

Some services between December 30 and January 4 will be operated by Red Kestrel, which means they will be for freight only.

Social distancing means all sailings will continue to run at reduced capacity, with the number of passengers limited to 350 passengers.

New Forest Post:

Wightlink

The Portsmouth Harbour-Ryde Pier Head FastCat service will be suspended on Boxing Day until further notice.

A Wightlink spokesperson said: "Due to falling demand, and with Portsmouth in Tier 4, Wightlink’s Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will become a two-hourly service carrying freight, key workers and others whose journeys are permitted under the latest regulations from January 4.

"Our Lymington-Yarmouth route will continue as a two-hourly service."

Hythe Ferry

Following a Christmas break Blue Funnel had been planning to resume sailings on December 29 but a statement on its website says the recent tier changes mean the ferry will not be running "for the foreseeable future".

New Forest Post:

South Western Railway

Christmas Day: No service.

Boxing Day: No service.

December 27 to January 3 inclusive: Significantly reduced service.

New Year's Eve: Annual London fireworks display has been cancelled and trains will not be operating through the night. Last trains will leave Waterloo before ​midnight.

New Year's Day: Sunday service.

January 2: Saturday service.

January 3: Sunday service.

January 4: Normal service resumes.

A SWR spokesperson said: "Most of our services will be running, but with reduced frequencies on some days. Planned engineering works will also be taking place and will have an impact on some services between Sunday, December 27 and Sunday, January 3.

"Seat reservations aren’t available on our trains. However, tickets can be purchased in advance.

"Due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 we're operating a revised timetable through to March 26 2021. Some services are subject to change at relatively short notice so make sure you check your journey before travelling by using our journey planner.

"Because of the need to maintain social distancing, our trains will not be able to carry as many people."