NorthLink passenger numbers fall with focus turned to essential travellers

Passenger numbers on NorthLink ferries have dropped by 62 per cent.

The ferry operator says numbers on all routes from 5th January to 15th March stood at 8,074.

That is down from 21,282 over the same period last year.

Car volumes for January and February were recorded at 2,214, which represented a 58 per cent reduction on the 5,220 in 2020.

Of those journeys, 42 per cent were undertaken by key workers and 32 per cent was classed as islander necessary travel.

The next highest category was essential visitor travel at 11.5 per cent followed by NHS travel (patients and staff) which represented 9.4 per cent of journeys.

Freight volumes are said to have held up strongly, recording a five per cent increase on the same period in 2020.

Serco managing director Stuart Garrett said: “NorthLink Ferries remains proud to play our part in ensuring both inward goods and essential export markets from Shetland and Orkney have been well served over this period whilst ensuring that those who need to travel can do so safely.

“We also again thank our customers for their adherence to the physical distancing requirements and COVID-19 protocols both within our terminals and onboard all our vessels.”


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