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Ferry refunds total more than £3.8m

NorthLink Ferries has seen a huge reduction in passenger numbers as a consequence of the lockdown restrictions in place.

Fifty passengers have been refused travel on NorthLink Ferries’ vessels and more than £3.8 million refunds have been processed during the coronavirus lockdown.

The company is challenging passengers and denying boarding unless they are able to demonstrate that they meet the criteria of a key worker or an islander with a need to travel.

Passenger numbers across all routes operated by NorthLink have reduced by 95 per cent between March 22, when a revised service was introduced, and the end of May.

For that period, 3,541 passengers were recorded compared to 69,458 over the same period in 2019.

Vehicles were recorded at 1,368 — a reduction from 18,602 in 2019 (93 per cent).

Freight volumes, which provide essential inward supplies and services as well as outward exports, have held up strongly however recorded an overall reduction of freight meterage of 27,173 since March 22 — a 24 per cent reduction compared to the same period last year.

More than 9,400 (9,413) bookings have been cancelled to date during the COVID-19 lockdown period resulting in a reduction of 31,208 passengers across all services. This has led to over £3.8 million refunds being processed.


Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director of NorthLink Ferries, said: “We are currently running an essential lifeline service between the Scottish Mainland and Orkney and Shetland and so it was expected that we would see a steep decline in numbers.

“We’re thanking passengers for their understanding and co-operation at this time and do remind them that by staying at home they are helping to keep themselves and others safe.”

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