Blog: NorthLink Ferries

NorthLink logoSerco NorthLink Ferries has partnered with one of Scotland’s digital start-ups to improve journeys for customers who require additional support.

The ‘Welcome’ app by Neatebox helps to overcome hurdles for passengers with specific accessibility requirements. 

The free app allows users to indicate the areas they need customer service to be aware of and the specific assistance they require. Service providers are notified of the visit request and receive an overview of the users condition and top tips to aid their interaction with the customer. 

Gavin Neate, founder and Chief Executive of Neatebox, said: “Our app helps disabled people to receive a better service, communicate with ease and travel with confidence. Even staff at companies with excellent customer service, like NorthLink, can struggle sometimes to know how best to support customers. We’re delighted that they have seen how the product can help both passengers and staff, and hope that other operators will follow suit.”

Seumas Campbell, Serco’s Customer Service Director at NorthLink Ferries, said: “We use the Welcome app to make staff aware of the specific needs of their visitors in advance of their arrival. We can greet customers by name and offer them the assistance they may require. This greatly improves the confidence and interactions between customer service teams and passengers helping to build lasting relationships.”

For more information on Neatebox visit www.neatebox.com

NorthLink Introduces ‘Gold Standard’ of Accessible Toilets

Passengers with complex disabilities and their carers can now use specially designed ‘Changing Places’ toilets aboard two of Serco NorthLink’s ferries. The move is a result of a partnership with the organisation PAMIS (Promoting A More Inclusive Society) which campaigns for these facilities and has been supported by Transport Scotland.

Changing Places toilets are in addition to standard accessible toilets. Research highlights that 230,000 people in the UK need such special assistance and facilities. Users include people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and people with a range of other disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Motor Neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, some older people and other specific disabilities. The new toilets are already open on deck six of MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey and will be available on board MV Hamnavoe by the end of the year.

Jenny Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PAMIS said: “We’ve been very impressed with the commitment and consideration shown by Serco NorthLink Ferries in developing changing places toilets on their ferries. They have really listened to the stories from the families and people we work with and who feel excluded from so many activities that we all take for granted. We’re delighted that the Orkney and Shetland ferries will be the first in the country, and possibly the world, to have a Changing Places toilet.”

Stuart Garrett, Serco’s Managing Director at NorthLink Ferries, said: “This investment is another sign of our commitment to making our facilities as welcoming as possible to everyone in the community. It will open up opportunities for many people with disabilities and their familes to visit some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. It also supports those living on the islands when travelling to and from the mainland for leisure and essential healthcare.”

For more information on PAMIS and Changing Places toilets visit: www.pamis.org.uk and for more information on NorthLink Ferries visit www.northlinkferries.co.uk

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