Transport in Orkney
Orkney's buses and ferries are vital lifelines for those who live, work and travel to school in our parishes, towns and isles.
Orkney Islands Council coordinates public transport services within Orkney and is also responsible for maintaining car parks and roads. It is also working to promote alternative forms of transport such as car sharing, walking and cycling.
Stagecoach operates most of the public bus routes on mainland Orkney. Routes cover St Margaret’s Hope, Holm, Kirkwall, Finstown to Stromness, Kirkwall to Birsay, Houton, Deerness, Kirkwall Airport, Hatston Pier, Tingwall Pier, Dounby and Harray. Kirkwall Travel Centre is the main bus hub with a waiting area, luggage lockers and an information desk. There is also a travel centre in Stromness at the ferry terminal. Timetables are displayed at the travel centres, bus stops and on the council website. More information is available by telephoning Stagecoach in Orkney on 01856 878014. Buses link with ferries to and from other islands and inter-isles flights, as well as ferries and flights to mainland Scotland. You can hail and ride a bus in Orkney outside town by waiting at a safe point.
There are also demand responsive services run by the Orkney Community Transport Organisation (OCTO) on 01856 871515. Dial-a-Bus operated by Orkney Disability Forum runs a door to door service for people who are disabled, have mobility problems or are aged over 60. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance by telephoning 01856 871515.
Isles buses operate on some of the outlying isles. The Eday Bus runs on a Thursday and is an on demand service linking with the ferry. Contact 01857 622206 for booking. The Rousay Bus is also on demand on Thursday and operates around the island from 7am until 7pm. Call in advance on 01856 821360. The Sanday Bus meets the ferry daily from May 2 until September 27 and will drop off and pick up at any roadside location. Ring 01857 600344 or 07513 084 777 before 6pm the previous day. Outwith those dates, the bus is on-demand. The Westray Bus meets ferry arrivals at Rapness Pier. In winter the bus must be prebooked. Call 01857 677758 or 07789 034289.
These services are available to everyone, and Scotland-Wide Free Bus Cards are accepted for free travel. Otherwise, fares are charged at the same rate as all other bus services in Orkney, based on the distance between where users board and alight the bus (via the shortest road distance). Return fares are 1.5 times the single and children under 5 travel for free.
Orkney Ferries operates the ferries between Mainland Orkney and 13 smaller isles. The ferry mv Hoy Head operates from Houton to Hoy and Flotta, mv Graemsay foot ferry from Stromness to Graemsay and North Hoy, mv Shapinsay from Kirkwall Pier to Shapinsay, mv Eynhallow from Tingwall to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre. For the North Isles the mv Earl Sigurd, mv Thorfinn and mv Varagen sail from Kirkwall Pier. The Golden Mariana runs from Pierowall in Westray to Papa Westray. You can buy tickets for Kirkwall routes at the Orkney Ferries office in Shore Street or by calling 01856 872044. For Houton departures call 01856 811397. For Tingwall departures call 01856 751360. Cars should be booked in advance and vehicles should arrive 20 minutes before the scheduled sailing time and foot passengers ten minutes before.
Flights to the North Isles are operated by Loganair from Kirkwall Airport. You can fly to Westray, Papa Westray, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay and Eday. Passengers can take 15kg hold luggage. Bookings must be made in advance and passenger should check in 20 minutes before departure. Call Loganair on 01856 872494.
There are also several car hire firms on mainland Orkney and cars are available in the isles too, along with cycle hire.
Use the links on the right hand side of the page to find out more about Orkney's external transport connections.