SOUTHERN Vectis is celebrating the popularity of its festive service after thousands of people travelled on Christmas Day.

The company ran a special timetable between Newport and Cowes, East Cowes, south Wight, west Wight and Ryde throughout the day.

Andrew Wickham, managing director, said: "We’re delighted so many people journeyed with us.

"Across the UK, it is still relatively rare to be able to travel by bus on December 25 — and Southern Vectis offers the nation's most extensive network."

Mr Wickham said the services are important as many people work or wish to visit family and friends, particularly in hospital.

"We offer these services without any financial support from local authorities or from government and drivers volunteer to work Christmas Day, so it is important they are used — and they most certainly were.

"As an integral part of the local community, we’re pleased to be able to provide such an important service at a time of year when many people may otherwise feel isolated.

"Not only that, but it’s a great way to encourage those living locally to leave their cars at home and opt for sustainable transport."