Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, held a meeting with Orkney Ferries yesterday (Monday) to discuss recent disruption to the booking system and progress towards moving to an online system.
It comes after the Orkney Ferries office in Kirkwall had to close at the weekend due to staff being required to self-isolate.
On Monday, Mr McArthur met with Jim Buck, Orkney’s Islands Council’s Head of Marine Services, and Cllr David Dawson, Chair of Orkney Ferries Board.
Commenting on the meeting, Mr McArthur said:
"Firstly, I hope those Orkney Ferries staff who are currently self-isolating are well and able to return to work soon.
"It was helpful to discuss the background to what happened at the weekend and understand why contingency arrangements were not put in place immediately. I gather that steps have now been taken to re-route calls in order to restore the booking system, although communication about what was happening could have been better.
"However, this latest incident has simply underlined the importance and urgency of Orkney Ferries moving to an online booking system. I have been assured for months, if not years, that such a system is ‘about to be introduced’ but no firm dates have ever been set.
"That cannot continue. If the current contractors are unable deliver what is needed, Orkney Ferries needs to replace them with someone who can. Given the lifeline nature of these services, the public and staff deserve a booking system fit for the job."