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 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.
Northern Isles school pupils are calling for passengers' attention with the introduction of refreshed safety briefing announcements on board NorthLink Ferries passenger vessels. As part of the Scottish Government's Year of Young People 2018, the lifeline ferry service chose four students from Anderson High School in Lerwick for the announcement on MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey and a further four pupils from Stromness Primary School in Orkney for the MV Hamnavoe recording.
In support of the Year of Young People 2018, and in partnership with Caber Coffee's Ethyco range, NorthLink Ferries is looking for two outstanding young people to apply for a travel bursary. The bursary is intended to be used towards the cost of attending a significant cultural or leadership event.
Serco NorthLink Ferries is proud to support local producers from the Northern Isles as they prepare for this year's Highland Show. In partnership with producers from Orkney, the Serco NorthLink lifeline ferry transported cheese, baked items, oatcakes, ice creams and of course rum and gin, that will be proudly showcased at the show.
Serco NorthLink Ferries celebrates being the first ferry company in Scotland to achieve the prestigious Investors in People Silver Accreditation, the most successful framework for business improvement through people in the UK. Stuart Garrett, Serco's Managing Director of NorthLink Ferries, joined the team at NorthLink Ferries' Stromness call centre to celebrate the achievement.
-- Rolling dry dock period to commence late January with final vessel complete by 20 February--. -- MV Arrow secured on short term charter -- -- Alternative travel arrangements in place for MV Hamnavoe -- NorthLink Ferries has today (Thursday 21 December) published timetables confirming arrangements for the regular planned maintenance of its passenger vessels, with one vessel at a time due to be out of service between 22 January and 20 February.
NorthLink Ferries is set to open bookings for travel to and from the Northern Isles for next year from Saturday (1 October). Peter Hutchinson, customer service director at NorthLink Ferries, said: "NorthLink Ferries is happy to announce that bookings for 2017 are to be accepted from Saturday.
NorthLink Ferries, managed and operated by Serco on behalf of Transport Scotland, has scooped a national award at this year's Guardian and Observer Travel Awards. Held in Scotland's capital on Friday 3 March, the ferry operator was awarded the title of ‘Best Ferry' at the annual ceremony, which celebrates the best in travel and tourism services across the world.
-- Location Fee Donated to Local Charity NorthLink Ferries is set to make its debut in the BBCs successful Shetland series this month. Passenger ferry MV Hrossey will appear in the third series of the crime television programme, which stars Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, due to air from Friday 15 January 2016.
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