Comment posted Research reveals shock insights into reality of Dunoon ferry service provision by newsroom.
The Scottish Government cannot instruct Argyll Ferries to replace a passenger ferry with a vehicle ferry within the term of the current contract – unless – directly or indirectly, it assists them to do so.
Were this to happen, it is unimaginable that this would survive the challenge under competition law that would inevitably follow from the other bidders for this contract.
All bidders in the original tender for the current contract operated by Argyll Ferries, were invited to submit a proposal to deliver the passenger service in a vehicle and passenger ferry.
In this instance, every penny of the costs associated with the delivery of a vehicle service would have to be accounted separately from the passenger costs, which are legally subsidised.
Not one bidder submitted such a proposal – because the vehicle service between the town centres of Gourock and Dunoon cannot be competitive and is not financially viable.
No politician can wave a wand and change this fact.
Me Neil, as with any politician is skilled in using phrases to deceive the unwary, such as ‘the Scottish Government is committed to…’- which means nothing; or ‘I would like to see…’ – which means the same.
What is going on is a surreal spectator sport where the government appears to be flailing around against the scenario they brought into being themselves by the decisions they took.
Presumably, they could either stop the current contract and transfer the financial penalty from one pubic sector pocket to another via the Argyll ferries books.
They could then retender the contract, specified differently – but this could not make a vehicle service between the Gourock and Dunoon town centres subsidisable; nor could it make it financially viable. What could a second outcome be?
Alternatively they could go ahead and indirectly assist Argyll Ferries to a vehicle and passenger ferry – and buy off the original competing bidders from issuing a challenge under competition law by giving them routes removed from the west coast portfolio operated by Calmac and ‘tendered’.
newsroom also commented
- You are logically adrift in this – and you actually support the position the facts demonstrate.
Nothing we have said in evidencing the massive capacity overprovisiom on this route has anything at all to do with whether empty ferries sail or not.
If you are correct that there are occasions when there is no reason to sail, it is actually further evidence that the capacity is way ahead of the demand – otherwise those services would sail.
- There are two issues here – neither operator publishes breakdown figures and one would need to see those and analyse them closely to distil the usage patterns.
Peak time under supply may be likely which is why we’ve said the Scottish Government, if it retired public sector involvement, might tender a small filler service.
Then, major city transport cannot cope with full demand at peak time commuter times. You can’t get on a tube sometimes so you learn to start earlier.
There’s no reason why the massive overprovision on the Gourock Dunoon route might not be left to the market to resolve as it will.
Travel early or get in late. Taking that line would also spread use of capacity better.
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Alan – we’ll try to get a message to the team for you – and will pass on your email to them for dir3ect contact.
The communications side of things is a weak link – not just with wifi and mobile signal problems but with accurate information on ETAs and even destinations.
We spent the afternoon today chasing around unsuccessfully to find them at their stated destination in Campbeltown – confirmed before we set off to drive – when in fact they finished at The Putechan Hotel, which is on the west coast of Kintyre and well short of Campbeltown. Very frustrating.
We did see the team doing the hard stuff though – passing them on the way south. They were cycling in two clusters, impressively easily and very disciplined in the way they were dealing with traffic streams behind them.
You should know that we now understand that they will row tomorrow from Campbeltown to Glenarm and not to Ballycastle; and that it looks as if they will row back not form Newcastle but from Bangor to Portpatrick.
They’ll be delighted to see you mi-channel. Great idea.
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The difference is that the new ferry to Campbeltown had an arrival time and actually arrived.
A major part of what we work to do is to support initiatives at all levels that are focused on regeneration and are driven by positive, creative energies that make things happen.
Campbeltown wins hands down over Kilmory any minute of any day on these criteria – and we never spare ourselves travelling and hard work on a cause that has some hope of going somewhere.
And just in case you are implying that this was a jolly – which we never do: I myself drove to Campbeltown – 1 hr 30m – did the work and drove back again immediately.
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This amusing spin disguises the fact that there was no political ‘speculation’.
There was formally recorded political realignment and manoeuvering by all councillors – which was done in some urgency before the council meeting, yet appears to have stalled – for some reason and for the time time being at least.
Councillors do not seem to realise that this adds to the alienation of voters rather than assuage concerns.
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