New ferry booking system launched but Scott says easier payments are priority

The council has launched a new online ferry booking system – but MSP Tavish Scott reckons they have missed the boat by not introducing card payments.

It is an improved system that is easier to view on mobile phones and tablets and offers more choices when booking, according to the SIC.

But Mr Scott, who lives in Bressay, says making payment easier should have been the priority.

He said: “Those of us who use ferries all the time still cannot pay with a debit or credit card. Instead of an app, the council need to make payment easy and efficient. That should be the priority.

“Islanders have been asking for years for this to be sorted. We still wait.”

Systems officer with the Ferries Service James Sawkins said the changes were made because more people are booking using their mobile phones.

The council has created a YouTube video about its new ferry booking system.

“We’ve listened to the feedback from passengers and improved our bookings site, to make it more mobile-friendly and provided more booking options. This not only improves the customer experience but it gives us more accurate passenger and vehicle details, to use the ferries more efficiently, especially at peak times.”

Changes have also been made to the system to allow passengers to cancel bookings online, either part or whole journeys.

A statement read: “Customers will also see improvements to the booking facility for combined Yell Sound and Bluemull bookings, with more choices available within one booking. For regular passengers, it’s also now easier to recall vehicle details.”

Online bookings can be made for crossings to Yell, Unst, Fetlar and Whalsay. The ferry booking office at Ulsta can also be contacted by phone at (01595) 745804.


Add Your Comment
  • William Anderson

    • June 5th, 2018 18:09

    Firstly, Tavish is spot on in this case. A simple pre-payment option to buy tickets is what is really required if they want to improve things and bring it in line with the bus service etc.

    Secondly, and most importantly – as someone who regularly booked ferries with my phone on the previous website, this “improvement” is a huge step back. The site no longer remembers your details. The infuriatingly pointless and patronising pop-ups telling you what you have already done are still there. The selection process has changed from simply picking a time etc from an easy to read list to multiple scroll boxes and buttons so big they mean you have to scroll around the screen to find them.

    Please SIC – either go back to the more functional version, or hand it over to whomever did the excellent Zetrans app and let them integrate bookings and payment into that intuitive, logical interface.

  • Alan Skinner

    • June 6th, 2018 19:41

    We have so many visitors to our gallery in Yell, who complain that they could not pay for their tickets using debit or credit cards. It is nonsense, in this day and age, that they cannot do so. In a number of instances, we have had to lend them cash, because they promised to pay on the way back, but there are no cash machines in Yell.

  • John Irvine

    • June 6th, 2018 22:54

    When I read about the new booking service I was expecting a radical change…. but guess what, its the same crap as before with a few pointless changes.

    Also and more importantly why has nothing been done to address all the people who book ferry`s then don`t turn up? I have had to put my car out on occasion the previous evening because there are no spaces, then to find that there is 3 or 4 free spaces on the run i had wanted to go on the next morning , this happens all the time.
    The solution is to make people pay when booking, either online or by telephone and there will be no refund unless it is cancelled 1 hour prior to sailing. This is how every service in the country works, whether you book a bus, train, hotel or even the cinema.

    • Steven Jarmson

      • June 13th, 2018 21:13

      Absolutely agree.
      I know people who book 2 ferries out every morning and 2 or even 3 back to the isles every night, “you know, just in case.”
      They should have to pay in advance or if they can’t pay in advance, if someone misses a booking, they should have to pay for that booking, and if they do it more than once they should be given an additional fixed penalty charge as well.
      If people refuse to pay, they aren’t allowed to use the service.
      That would stop all the over booking.

  • Christine Murchison

    • June 13th, 2018 10:35

    I have just made a ferry booking to Ulsta, but wonder why after a new online service has been introduced, is Bluemull still being shown as an island instead of Unst? It just doesn’t make sense having Bluemull, Yell and Fetlar as the island options as this must make it extremely confusing for visitors trying to work out where they are going!!


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