Transport / Participants sought to give views on lifeline ferry services

Photo: NorthLink Ferries

RESEARCHERS will be heading to Shetland next week to find out the community’s thoughts on lifeline ferry services.

Focus groups will be held on Tuesday (9 May) at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick.

They are being hosted by researchers from the University of Glasgow. Anyone interested in taking part should contact paul.quigley@glasgow.ac.uk.

Organiser Paul Quigley said a number of focus groups have already been held across the country on the topic of lifeline ferry services in Scotland.

The project has been funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.

Quigley said whilst there has been research in the area before, “it often doesn’t really engage with local communities – with people who use the ferries, with business owners that are either directly or indirectly reliant on a smooth running service”.

He also feels that workers on lifeline ferries have also not had much of a say in the past.


“What we’re looking to do is to speak to people and try to understand what an ideal public service would look like,” Quigley said.

The findings of the research is likely to be presented to the Scottish Parliament in the future to “advocate on the behalf of the communities we’ve engaged with”.

There is likely to be a varying range of views given from the Shetland community – seeing as concerns over capacity are repeatedly raised about the government-funded NorthLink ferry service to and from the Scottish mainland, for instance.

Meanwhile a number of ferries in Shetland Islands Council’s inter-island fleet continues to age.

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