Comment posted Russell stance on Argyll Ferries raises serious questions by ferryman.
The classification for pitching and rolling is settled, moderate, rough and violent.
Captain Ferguson has said he was onboard the Ali Cat while she was pitching violently. I have been onboard her in similar conditions, you don’t have much choice about sitting down and you need to hold on to your seat.
The Ali Cat has been on the route for a number of years. However she ran a very limited timetable and it did not matter a lot if she was off as there was a following streaker that would be running. Also she was banned from operating in waves in excess of 0.5m (up to my knees) by Argyll and Bute Council following an incident where people claimed to have been nearly killed.
ferryman also commented
- You need to make a choice about whether or not there is to be a town centre ferry service.
Assuming a town centre service is required (the EU rated it as an essential service), then you need large vessels to make it reliable. This was known from the Deloitte Touche report which said “large hulled” vessels were needed on the Firth of Clyde.
If you wish you can then run these large vessels just passenger only. Alternatively you can carry vehicles on them reducing the subsidy required and so making them more economic – that is what I mean.
The stunning incompetence of Transport Scotland was to spend £2M on small vessels, plus a subsidy for them, then be surprised they cannot run and so wish to add £4M for pontoons (which serve no purpose) plus additional costs for a larger replacement for the AliCat. The net result of the current fiasco is that the cost of decent ferry will be spent on a service that still will not function.
By not function I mean that not only are the users of the Argyll Ferries service suffering but regular car drivers are also having difficulties and those foot passengers that have abandoned Argyll Ferries have ongoing problems because the buses don’t get on the vehicle ferries reliably. Meanwhile Inverclyde Council contemplate spending yet more money for a ring road to cope with the diverted traffic. All round a total and utter expensive mess.
- The only way to sort the passenger only service is to use larger vessels. Once you use larger vessels to be economic they have to carry vehicles – simples.
- The primary fault is that the SNP went back on their promise to deliver two vehicle ferries for the route. The reasons for this have never been explained particularly as substantial investment in infrastructure, including funding from the EU, to support vehicle ferries had already been put in place.
The secondary fault is that the passenger only service put in place has been a failure since the outset. The implementation of the service is down to Transport Scotland but the Government are supposedly in control of them.
Furthermore the Government created a private monopoly of cross Firth of Clyde vehicle traffic and effectively gifted some 60,000 vehicle crossings per annum to Western Ferries.
- Do our road bridges make a profit, our tunnels or roads even – no. We accept that infrastructure has to be put in place at a national level. In the case of the East of Scotland that involves spending billions on a free to use bridge.
Where there are islands or peninsulas that infrastructure should include ferries and the very limited funding that would be required for a modern, efficient, seaworthy fleet.
- The frequency has doubled but but the rate of cancellations has far more than doubled. That is because the old service used larger ships that could cope with the weather and the new service uses bathtubs which cannot.
The bathtubs are cancelling and being disrupted for days at a time in summer weather, something that simply did not happen at all with the former ships.
If you don’t understand the car argument how about; your child not getting taught because their teacher is late, or nurses not being available in hospital because they are late, or students being late for lectures. This is supposed to be a commuter service!
Over the course of many years, and on the back of Government promises, people have built their lives around there being a reliable town center ferry service.
Suddenly that reliable service has been removed.
There are going to be to gradual but very predictable consequences of this. Firstly people who need to use the service regularly will tend to leave the area. Secondly new blood who might move to the area intending to commute will not come. The end result will be ongoing economic decline for Cowal and Dunoon.
Recent comments by ferryman
- Shetland Line remains in legal contention with Scottish Government on Northlink Ferries tender
Regarding the Dunoon Gourock ferry service one of the ‘needs and requirements’ the Scottish Government failed to specify was that the vessels employed could actually operate reliably in the weather on the Firth of Clyde.
How incompetent is that!
- Argyll Flyer spotted going into Ardmaleish yard on Bute this afternoon
The Ali Cat was having technical problems whilst the Argyll Flyer was being maintained recently, resulting in periods of no service.
Following its maintenance the Argyll Flyer was indeed continuing to suffer technical problems.
The linkspan at Gourock is now being serviced with the result that the Argyll ferries is, once again running a reduced service. This happened right through the Dunoon Film Festival.
It is beyond belief that the Argyll Flyer maintenance and the repairs to the linkspan should not have been planned to run concurrently and without clashing with the Film Festival.
- Scottish Government forced to intervene on loose-mouthed Russell gaffe in Campbeltown
JimB asked “why does Dunoon not set out to attract day trippers?”
Dunoon would make an excellent destination for people from Glasgow seeking both Day Tripper and Weekend Breaks.
Why don’t they come though?
Well they certainly won’t drive the long way round, it is too far. There are plenty of other attractive destinations that are closer to home.
A relatively short drive and the pleasant experience of a ferry crossing to the town ought to be attractive, but then we hit the price barrier – £44.50 for a young family of 4 in a car.
Why would people pay that premium to come to Dunoon when they can go elsewhere?
The passenger only service is unattractive because of its unreliability.
What Dunoon needs is a truly competing vehicle ferry services.
- Reminder: Argyll Ferries on ‘refit’ service schedule
The scottish Government has failed to deliver on the transferable ferry tickets it was going to setup. The bus scheme is a bodge that adds anything upto two hours to travel time.
Any news on what they are going to do for Cowal Games or are they just going to try another gamble on the weather.
- New Campbeltown ferry pilot – a whale beached before it starts
They did not refuse to give car/ferry passenger service to Dunoon – they took it away!
They went back on a maniefesto committment to provide new vehicle ferries and then to cap it all they made an incompetent botch by putting in a totally and uttery unreliable passenger only service.
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