Ferry Passenger Numbers Rise By Ten Per Cent
19th July 2018
Northern Isles ferry operator NorthLink Ferries has reported a 10 per cent increase in the volume of passengers who have travelled on the route network since the firm took over running the lifeline ferry service in July 2012.
The passenger increase coincides with recent VisitScotland tourism figures which highlighted a rise in visitors to Orkney by 20 per cent since 2013, while the number of visitors to Shetland increased by 10 percent over the same period.
In NorthLink Ferries' six years of service, just under 1.8 million passengers have travelled to and from the isles, with the number of cars making the journey increasing by 28 per cent. The operator also transported just under 3 million commercial lane metres of freight traffic during the same period to 5 July 2018.
Stuart Garrett, Serco's managing director of NorthLink Ferries, commented: "As well as providing a lifeline service to those who live and work on the islands, the Northern Isles ferry service is an essential part of growing the islands' visitor economy.
"The introduction of a number of initiatives and new services have been warmly received by our passengers; 99 per cent of those we've questioned through our iPad surveys throughout the course of our contract rate their on board experience as positive; over 80 per cent rate our food and drink offering as good or excellent.
"Everyone at NorthLink Ferries is very proud of the service we provide and we remain totally committed to delivering a safe, efficient, quality service to our passengers and the communities we serve."
The passenger increase has come at a time when NorthLink Ferries has introduced a series of improvements. This included upgraded on board facilities including reclining sleeping pods; a premium lounge service; and a commitment to serving locally-produced food and drink in each vessels’ on board restaurants and bars. The company plan to launch a new booking app shortly.
Serco has operated the Northern Isles service since July 2012 providing scheduled lifeline passenger and freight services to the Northern Isles. The operator employs over 600 people directly and indirectly and increased its employment of local people located within the areas of its operating ports by 25 per cent compared to its first year of service.
The MV Hamnavoe is due to be in dry dock from 13th to 26th January 2020 (inclusive), and there will be additional north and southbound calls into Kirkwall by the MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland. During this time the MV Helliar will provide a replacement service on the Pentland Firth route.
Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The outcome of the tender was announced by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to The Scottish Parliament this morning.
Company is first Scottish transport operator to introduce pioneering support service. Serco NorthLink Ferries has partnered with one of Scotland's digital start-ups to improve journeys for customers who require additional support.
Visitors to some of Scotland's main agricultural shows this summer could win free travel to the Northern Isles on board Serco NorthLink Ferries. Anyone stopping by the company's stand at the Royal Highland Show, Caithness Show, Turriff Show or Isles Shows will be able to enter a prize draw for a trip on board its vessels.
Northern Isles ferry operator Serco NorthLink Ferries is predicting its busiest ever holiday season. The company has just completed training for its 31 seasonal Passenger Service Assistants who have joined the team ahead of the summer surge.
Whether it's a day of pampering and relaxation or one of adventure and activities, Mother's Day is always the perfect opportunity to remind mums how special they are. As sons and daughters travel this weekend to see their mums, NorthLink Ferries is helping those still searching for that perfect gift by offering the chance to win a beautiful handmade pendant from Shetland Jewellery.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young people from Shetland and Orkney and becoming the first and only ferry operator in Scotland to receive the highest Investors in People accreditation. As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, 11 apprentices with NorthLink Ferries met the Minister at NorthLink's Stromness office where they discussed the benefits of modern apprenticeships and the opportunities being presented to them by Serco, the operator of the lifeline ferry service.
NorthLink Ferries is set to star in a new STV documentary on Friday (08 March 2019), providing viewers across the country with a unique insight into life on board the company's passenger services. Titled All Aboard and broadcast at 8pm, the 30 minute programme follows MV Hrossey as she travels between Aberdeen and Lerwick, offering a behind the scenes chance to see the many roles of crewmembers as well as a glimpse into island life and the stories of those making their way to and from the mainland.
The Serco NorthLink freight ship Helliar is now running the Stromness to Scrabster ferry route while the Hamnavoe has its refit this week. Bad weather is affecting trips today and tomorrow per the Serco Northlink website - Updated Wednesday 16th January at 13:30 M.V.
NorthLink Ferries has published timetables confirming arrangement for the regular planned maintenance of its passenger vessels, with one vessel at a time due to be out of service between 13 January and 25 March 2019. MV Hamnavoe, which operates between Scrabster and Stromness, will be removed from service for five days from 13 - 19 January and MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey on the Aberdeen to Kirkwall and Lerwick route from 2 - 18 February and 19 - 25 March.
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