NorthLink has introduced a new temporary timetable, which it said still provided a “lifeline service between mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles whilst reflecting travel demand during the Covid-19 outbreak”.
Restrictions have been implemented on ferries by the company in recent weeks to allow only necessary travel, in line with advice from the Scottish government and health officials.
This had resulted in a significant reduction in passenger numbers, the company said.
The timetable will run from Sunday 5th April, with one passenger ship operating on the Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick passenger service on the below off-peak timetable:
- Aberdeen to Lerwick on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
- Lerwick to Aberdeen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Aberdeen to Kirkwall on Thursday and Sunday
- Kirkwall to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Friday
The freight service “plays a vital part in the Northern Isles supply chain”, the company said, and will continue to provide daily connections to and from the Northern Isles in tandem with the passenger vessel schedule.
The timetable is currently projected to run until Sunday 3rd May, but will be extended further as required in tandem with any restrictions on movement advice received.
Passengers should be aware that additional changes may be introduced at short notice, and when travelling must follow strict social distancing requirements at all times.
Stuart Garrett, Serco’s managing director of NorthLink Ferries, said: “The wellbeing of our passengers and staff is always our top priority and since the outset of Covid-19 we have taken all the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety.
“We will continually review the changing situation and shape our response in line with the most recent guidance from government and health officials.
“It’s for this reason that we are now introducing a temporary revised timetable to support essential lifeline services while responding to the reduction in passenger footfall.”
A reduced on board offering and terminal usage has also been put in place, including:
- Suspension of cinema
- Suspension of car valet parking
- Closure of on board shops
- Closure of on board bar area
- Amended menu available on crossings between Aberdeen, Kirkwall and Lerwick
- Suspension of MV Hamnavoe bed and breakfast