‘If you believe the pods are comfortable spend a night in one’ – open letter to NorthLink boss Stuart Garrett

Dear Mr Garrett,

As you may have seen in the local news, I have formed a petition to replace the pods with something that people will allow people to get a good night’s sleep, because right now there’s at least 1,700 ferry users who feel that the pods are not fit for purpose.

Many people have complained about the pods but instead of investigating the complaints , you went ahead and installed more pods.  I had a look a look at the MCA rules and although I couldn’t see anything regarding couchettes or horizontal beds, I did see that more seats gives you allowance for more passengers. I believe this rule is allowing you to exploit Shetlanders and holiday makers. You are sacrificing quality for quantity with these pods.

There are so few cabins and car spaces available, that islanders have to book months in advance to get one. The types of people who rent pods are those who can’t afford a cabin, cabins are still expensive with island discount, unwitting tourists who have no idea what these pods are like and finally, people who didn’t book with enough notice or had to amend their long booked ticket closer to departure. People who know what the pods are like, don’t rent them because they have any choice. It’s because you won’t let us sleep on the floor. Would that cause the MCA to reduce your passenger numbers?

There’s an issue for athletes who are expected to compete the day after they get off the boat.  When a coach can’t book cabins for their team and the athletes have to use pods, the team are not in good condition to compete.  Finally, there’s the problem of people who need to get off Shetland in an emergency. They might have to drive a few hundred miles when they get off the ferry and require a good night’s sleep to be able to drive safely.

You imply that couchettes wouldn’t be allowed, if you can show me the legislation to back this up then instead we can discuss replacing the “pods” with more comfortable chairs (since that’s what you imply is only legal).

Seats on a short journey are fine but even through the day, those vulnerable to sea sickness need to lie down. Here’s a link to the petition https://chng.it/c9FMdWLVC6

Mr Garrett, if you honestly believe the pods are comfortable, spend the night in one and come up to Shetland to speak to us in person.

Sarah Stove

Shetland News