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Election 2016 / Election: the future of the lifeline ferry service

WITH just ten days until voters hit the polling booths to elect Shetland’s next MSP, Shetland News has been conducting interviews with the four constituency candidates – as well as some of the list candidates – on the most pressing issues facing the islands.

The first in a week-long series of video features focuses on the North Boats lifeline ferry contract between Shetland, Orkney and the Scottish mainland, which is up for renewal in 2018.

Back in 2012 the SNP government controversially handed the six-year, £240 million contract to multinational service provider Serco.

It has also faced criticism for failing to take steps to bring ferry fares down in the Northern Isles in a similar way to reductions on west coast routes.

Lengthy discussions have taken place between the islands councils, transport bodies ZetTrans and HiTrans and Transport Scotland to ensure the islands have greater input into what the service will look like beyond 2018.

We asked each of the four constituency candidates – and the Scottish Greens’ list candidate John Finnie – what they would like to see feature in the specification for the new contract when it eventually goes out to tender.