The number of motorcycles carried to the 2015 Isle of Man TT by the Steam Packet Company was up 16.6% compared with last year.

The total, which increased from 2014 figures by 2,002 to 14,055, is the most motorcycles carried in any year other than 2007’s centenary celebrations. The rise was due to the Company’s decision to introduce a removable mezzanine deck on Manannan, creating space for more bikes, and invest in the charter of MV Arrow to provide freight cover so both Ben-my-Chree and Manannan had room for TT fans.

Figures for the 2016 TT are already reflecting the ongoing growth in popularity of the TT. On the first day of reservations the Steam Packet Company completed more than 3,300 bookings in just 10 hours, a 33% increase compared with the same day in 2014. After one week, more than 7,000 bookings had been made, including almost 16,800 passengers and over 8,500 motorcycles.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are always looking at ways we can help the TT continue to grow, and listening to our passengers and partners at the event it was clear there was a significant demand for more motorcycles to travel.

‘We invested in the fabrication of a removable mezzanine deck for Manannan which delivered the additional capacity needed to carry more bikes, and the figures show that has been welcomed by fans. Coupled with this investment was the long-term charter of MV Arrow, which provided freight cover during the TT so we had more room for visitors to the TT on Manannan and Ben-my-Chree.

‘The mezzanine deck will be back in use for the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling in August, as well as next year’s TT.

‘As we anticipated, the increase in motorcycles did not mean an increase in overall passengers. The total number has stayed about the same as last year, when we carried more than 36,000 people in what was our busiest TT outside of the centenary in 2007. The introduction of the mezzanine deck allowed people who had previously travelled on foot to bring their motorcycle as well this year, not for Manannan to carry more people. Additionally, this year there was no bank holiday during practice week so we weren’t carrying the extra passengers we normally see on a bank holiday weekend.’

He added: ‘The TT is our busiest time of the year and presents huge challenges to all our staff. This year we have also had to contend with poor weather, which impacted on the practice and race schedule, but managed to keep the sailings going and get fans here as quickly and safely as conditions allowed. I’d like to pay tribute to all my Steam Packet Company colleagues for their professionalism and hard work.’

David Cretney, political member of the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development with responsibility for tourism and motorsport, said: ‘Global interest in the TT continues to grow, and that is reflected by the number of people who want to visit the Island to enjoy the action.

‘We are delighted to see so many more motorcycles making the journey, thanks to the Steam Packet Company’s investment in a removable mezzanine deck and the Department of Economic Development Motorsport team’s marketing efforts. It is also extremely positive to see so many bookings already made for the 2016 TT, which promises to be another hugely successful event.’

Motorcycles arrive in the Isle of Man on board Steam Packet Company vessel Manannan