New ticketing system ensures all aboard for Orkney Ferries

Handheld rugged printers from Azur and Zebra set to cut waiting time and improve customer service

Orkney Ferries Ltd has deployed a new ticketing system from Azur ( to improve efficiency and reliability on the decks of its ferry fleet.

The Company, which operates 9 ferries around the Orkney Isles and has over 74 point to point connections across its network, carrying 300,000 passengers per year, previously used out dated machines to distribute tickets and take payments on deck.

Following a successful pilot and extensive trials the new system sees Microsoft pocket PC devices from Azur connecting with portable RW420 rugged printers from Zebra Technologies, worn on the belt of the crew member in charge of issuing and collecting tickets.

David Sawkins, ferry services manager at Orkney Ferries Ltd, noticed improvements to the ticketing system during the pilot and trials programme.  Our ferry routes are variable and price structure changes accordingly. The new system makes it much easier to accommodate these changes, he said.

Our passengers will soon be able to pay with credit or debit cards on board, which will make a tremendous difference to the efficiency of the process, and will increase customer satisfaction. There is nothing worse for passengers and crew than passengers arriving on board expecting to pay by card, but finding out that they have to pay by cash or cheque.

The system is set to improve reliability the RW420 printer has been designed specifically to survive harsh outdoor conditions such as extreme cold and wet environments.

This is a great example of a local, traditional company and its customers jointly reaping the benefits of cutting edge technology, said Mike Pitt, regional sales manager at Zebra.  Orkney Ferries provides a vital service to islanders and visitors alike, and is now leading the way with new technology.

We were looking for a printer to integrate into this system which is reliable, flexible and cost effective said Iain Reid, account director at Azur. The RW420 was by far the best model for the job. The pilot was so successful that were now looking at other opportunities in the UK and even on ferries servicing the Greek Islands.

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