Northern Isles Ferry Services update
Islander ferry fare enhancements
The preferred bidder to deliver ferry services to the Northern Isles was confirmed today as a substantial package of fare reductions to be introduced by Scottish Ministers for Orkney and Shetland islanders was also unveiled.
Serco NorthLink Ferries have been selected as the preferred bidder to operate the next contract for the Northern Isles Ferry Services (NIFS) network, providing continuity and the provision of high-quality, affordable ferry services that will be welcomed by local communities.
Just some of the benefits of the new contract, details of which will be published following contract award, include the upgrade of ten cabins to premium class, upgraded terminal facilities at Hatston, and improved customer communications and services.
On fares, the Scottish Government is taking action to ensure that from January islanders will be able to enjoy a 20% year round discount on cabin fares on Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick routes, and benefit from a three year fares freeze for passengers, non-commercial vehicles and cabins on those routes.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said:
“The Scottish Government remains fully committed to high quality ferry links to the Northern Isles so I am delighted to announce Serco NorthLink as the preferred bidder to operate these services for a further eight years.
“In addition to the new contract, the Scottish Government is also helping island residents with a package of fare reductions. Building on the 30% discount for passenger and vehicle fares already enjoyed by islanders, cabin fares on routes from Orkney and Shetland to and from Aberdeen will be reduced by 20% from January, and we will also introduce a three-year islander fares freeze for passengers, non-commercial vehicles and cabins on those routes.
“We have placed our island communities at the heart of the new contract and as preferred bidder Serco are making some exciting new customer focused enhancements. These include an extra ten premium cabins on the Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick routes, a full refurbishment of the terminal lounge at Hatston, earlier boarding at Aberdeen harbour and extended opening hours of NorthLink’s customer services centre.
“We are acutely aware of the particular seasonal and time-sensitive challenges faced by key industries on Orkney and Shetland. The new contract includes the flexibility to allow timetabled freight and ferry services to be amended to better reflect changes in demand across the year and from sector to sector. We want to support the key areas of tourism, fishing, food and drink, aquaculture and farming and help Orkney and Shetland’s economies to thrive. These new arrangements will help support that.
“The new contract also reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Fair Work Framework, providing pension protections and security of employment for the staff involved in the delivery of the ferry services.
“It is important to remember that Scottish Ministers will retain control of all of the key issues, such as fares and timetables through the public service contract, and I look forward to continuing to build on our strong working relationship with Serco NorthLink Ferries in the months and years ahead.”
Latest News from
Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Aberdeen City) Regulations 202006/08/2020 15:05:00
Regulations requiring the closure of businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the premises in the local authority area of Aberdeen City.
Local restrictions introduced in Aberdeen06/08/2020 12:05:00
Changes follow new COVID-19 cases identified in the community.
A blueprint for Scotland's wellbeing economy: Scottish Government response06/08/2020 10:05:00
The Scottish Government’s response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report “Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland: Report of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery.”
Rebuilding better06/08/2020 08:05:00
Targeted measures to build a stronger, fairer and greener economic future for Scotland in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been announced by the Scottish Government.
Addressing the labour market emergency: Scottish Government response05/08/2020 16:33:00
Across four themes, this report sets out the Scottish Government’s response to the recommendations made by The Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board sub-group for immediate action to mitigate rising levels of unemployment across Scotland due to the impact of COVID-19.
University places05/08/2020 15:05:00
The number of Scottish domiciled students being offered a place at Scottish universities is the second highest on record, up 1% to 28,240.
Treating cystic fibrosis05/08/2020 12:05:00
A new triple therapy treatment will be available to cystic fibrosis patients on the NHS, following an agreement between the Scottish Government, NHS Scotland and the pharmaceutical company.
Recruitment rates for future medics05/08/2020 10:05:00
Latest recruitment figures show the number of speciality medical training posts which have been filled in Scotland is at its highest level for eight years.
Results Day04/08/2020 15:05:00
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has congratulated all learners who have today received their results.