Comment posted Western Ferries signs contract with Cammell Laird for new Dunoon-Gourock ferries by ferryman.
I agree with Mr Ross that “‘Western Ferries’ Gourock to Dunoon service provides a strategic link between the West Coast of Scotland”. A strategic link which is operated by a private company with no price control.
This is an intolerable situation. Dunoon is marked as one of the two most vulnerable towns in Scotland and the Government gifts sole control of a vital strategic transport link to a private company by breaking a promise. The Skye bridge is free, Erskine bridge is free, the massively expensive Forth road bridges are and will be free. What is the Scottish Government going to do about the very high cost of using the strategic vehicle ferry service to Dunoon?
ferryman also commented
- If the choice is between ships that sail or bathtubs that don’t the answer is a no-brainer;
I prefer a ship that sails.
As to whether or not the new bathtubs are easier to use I’ll leave the decision on that to people with difficulties. For example the blind woman who took Alec Salmond to task on national radio over the problems she had using the unstable new service and that Michael Russell MSP would not reply to her emails.
- To Robert Wakeman,
Your arrogance on this subject is staggering. People are struggling to get to and from work, college and hosptial appointments and your regular contribution to this blog is that you did not like the boarding arrangements on the old service which you used once in a blue moon?
- Please explain the minefield.
Please explain the difficulties.
The EU statement was clear simple and already being comlied with.
As I said the problem was that the SNP did not deliver on their promise to supply vessels. Why they went back on their promise was never stated. Jim Mather has the decency to resign. Mike Russell hides behind “it was before my time”, Nobody has given a clear statemnt of why they did not deliver their promise. I am confident they cannot blame the EU.
You also seem to have some kind of fetish about the boarding arrangements to the streaker service. How frequently did you use them?
If I recall past post on this subject it certainly was not daily. So please defer to people who actually use the services and know something about them.
- Several people, including Dunoonlad, routinely trot out the idea that people did not support the CalMac ferry service under a number of different topics. He did so again here.
In my example one ferry company makes five times the profit of the other just because it sails 10 minutes earlier.
In the case of CalMac they were shackled by having fewer sailings per hour and sailing for fewer hours per day. As you would anticipate they carried fewer vehicles, though probably more than could reasonably be expected from the timetable.
The Government could easily have lifted the timetable restricitions whilst the old service was running. With an even playing field we would have seen the true popularaties of the two services.
I have no doubt they would be broadly equal and, for some reason, it was not wished to make that apparent.
Indeed it is not incoceivable that, unfettered, the already profitable vehicle portion might have generated sufficient revenue to mean no overall subsidy (even for passengers) was required.
- There was and is no minefield of legislation. The SNP promised vehicle ferries, went back on their promise and have then tried to use the EU as a smokescreen;
In 2009 the EU said the route had to be tendered, it said the vehicle portion should not be subsidised and that the vehicle and passenger portions should publish separate accounts. In the same report the EU showed that the vehicle portion had been running a profit since 2002. The report also made it clear that vessels could be supplied, provided they were offered on the same terms to all bidders.
Following the report separate accouts began to be kept and these showed that the vehicle portion continued to be profitable – despite being hamstrung by a ridiculous timetable.
The government tendered documents, when eventually produced, permitted a vehicle service to be offered. Though of course without the promised vessels this was doomed.
Where is the legal minefield. Everything was already in place at the time of the tender apart from the promised vessels.
Recent comments by ferryman
- Argyll Flyer in Ardmaleish boatyard
Will the current linkspan works be completed by Friday 21/June?
Working on the linkspan while the Argyll Flyer was having its recent scheduled maintenance would have made sense, but they did not do it.
Bring forward maintenance on the Argyll Flyer by a minimum of 6 months and more than likely 8-9 months seems odd.
Why are they not waiting till September to work on the Argyll Flyer. That is closer to when she is due her maintenance and I hear the Gourock linkspan will be out of action again then?
- 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.
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