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Transport / Cashless advocate pleased to hear about card payments on ferries

Card payments would have been introduced on North Isles ferries by now if it wasn’t for coronavirus restrictions, councillor says

The Whalsay ferry Linga berthing at Vidlin. Photo: SIC

A FORMER banking industry chief who visited Shetland while attempting to live without using notes or coins in a “cashless” experiment has welcomed trials of card payments on inter-island ferries.

Having to pay by cash or cheque was Mike Chambers’ main cashless criticism after visiting the isles in 2019.

Chambers – a former CEO of the BACS payment scheme which operates direct debit in the UK – said introducing card payments on ferries would have been more efficient.

Late last year, however, Shetland Islands Council began trialling card and contactless payments on the Bressay and Whalsay ferries after long delays.

“It’s great to hear that the Shetland Islands Council are trialling card and cashless payments for ferry journeys,” Chambers said.

“Paying digitally for goods and services is convenient, efficient and fast and I am sure will be welcomed by residents and visitors alike. This is a positive move by the council in an increasingly digital society.

“I look forward to a contactless ferry journey when I next visit the mainland and the North Isles – when it is safe do to so of course.”

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson, meanwhile, said that card payments would have already been introduced in the Yell Sound and Bluemull Sound ferries if it was not for Covid-related delays.

“While there has been some initial teething issues with the roll out of credit and debit card payments on Bressay and Whalsay, these are minimal, and transactions through this process are at a reasonable level,” he said.

“It is fully expected to increase as the travelling public become more aware of the opportunity to pay by contactless, and hopefully as Covid restriction measures are eased in the future.

“Going live on Yell Sound and Bluemull Sound, although normally would have commenced by now, has been delayed by Covid and crewing restrictions and arrangements.

“We continue to review plans in line with Covid, and will roll out card payments on these routes in line with the overall Covid situation.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021