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‘Walk-on’ passengers to be permitted on Orkney Ferries vessels from Friday

Passengers travelling on Orkney Ferries will once again be permitted to walk on without prior booking.

“Walk-on” passengers will be able to travel again with Orkney Ferries from the first sailings on Friday this week.

Following discussions with Transport Scotland, the company will introduce QR code scanning on its vessels on Friday — to collect contact details for passengers travelling on board.

This will allow Orkney Ferries to remove the requirement for all travel to be booked in advance.

The QR codes have been trialled by Abellio ScotRail in conjunction with Transport Scotland and are designed to work as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect contact tracing system.

Walk-on passengers will be asked to scan the QR code using a smart phone or similar device before boarding and again when they disembark at journey’s end — allowing them to ‘check in’ and ‘check out’.

Passengers without a device that can scan the code will be asked to provide contact details that will be added to the ferry’s manifest.

Orkney Ferries Manager Andrew Blake said: “Our priority remains to keep our passengers and crew as safe as is practicable within the current easing of restrictions.

“We’re pleased that the introduction of QR codes will allow us to welcome walk-on passengers back on board from Friday.

“We know this will be welcome news for many of our customers, whose patience and co-operation has been much appreciated over the past 17 months.”

Orkney Ferries would like to remind all passengers that booking for vehicles is still strongly recommended and that face coverings remain compulsory on board unless people are exempt from wearing them.