Comment posted Russell stance on Argyll Ferries raises serious questions by Dave McEwan Hill.
Western Ferries were introduced to the route as Mrs Thatcher’s government with its obsession on private operation tried to take the Calmac service off. This was resisted furiously by the people of Dunoon at huge public meetings and George Younger had to back down and reprieve the CalMac service. It would be useful if people commenting on this issue knew the background.
A survey posted into all the homes in Cowal elicited a response of over 2,500. 98% wanted the Calmac Service to continue and the vast majority (over 90%)also agreed that if the CalMac vehicle service was running unrestricted it
would be their transport of choice.
I have no intention of engaging in a debate on this. The issue has moved on.
Captain Sandy Ferguson, CalMac’s retired long serving chief marine superintendant has testified that the two tubs on the route at the moment are entirely unsuitable and he would not have allowed them to operate had he still been in position.
For Argyll of course,knows better
Dave McEwan Hill also commented
I am impressed by the way all the political parties are cooperating and working sensibly in the Ferry Users Group. As every political party – the Tories, Labour, the LibDems and the SNP have contributed to this utter shambles can I hope that the silly blame stuff that goes on on the local paper, particularly from Alan Reid, is stopped.
- “The 1998 report is now a Jurassic relic and was so wrong when it was issued it had to be appended due to the fact that the financial assumptions were wrong.”
There are two logical solutions to the issue.
(a) put on a proper ferry service which can adequately cope with the weather conditions on a frequently stormy crossing or
(b)you have no ferry service into Dunoon.
The putting on of two unsuitable craft indicates that option(b)was chosen somewhere in the Transport Department and the “tubs” service was designed to fail as quickly as possible. You can tell that by the portacabin facilities at Dunoon and the stripping of comfortable passenger amenities at Gourock.
It has nothing really to do with all the complicated piffle I read on this site.
If option(a) is chosen you build or acquire vessels of the size that can cope with the weather conditions. The Jupiter, Juno and Saturn were all designed specifically in size and weight for the Dunoon/Gourock crossing. They served the route for the best part of four decades and were the only significantly profitable part of the Calmac network until their operation was destroyed by an artificial restriction of one sailing per hour and no night sailing despite there being three of them. This was inflicted on them at a period during which a rapid increase of vehicle traffic was being experienced and during which all sailings left Dunoon full of traffic leaving very often a couple of lanes of traffic behind.
There is no point in building boats of a suitable size for this crossing unless they also carry vehicles. Vehicle carrying is a very lucrative operation, unlike carrying passengers which cannot cover costs.
The vast majority of residents in the Dunoon area agree that a Dunoon/Gourock crossing would be their vehicle crossing of choice were it unrestricted and able to run more than once hourly.
It also connected properly with the train to Glasgow.
The Dunoon/Gourock route also brought a significant volume of visiting vehicular traffic into Dunoon which now goes nowhere near Dunoon. This is critical.
I suspect most commentators on this issue do not belong to Dunoon as they obviously have no interest in Dunoon and Cowal having a good, competitive ferry service on what is the busiest crossing in Europe.
- Peter Wade
Nonsense. Have you read the definitive Deloite Touche report (commissioned by the Government) on the CalMac operation?
The vehicle service received no cross subsidy from foot pasengers. This was not allowed.
- Well said, ABF.
- Robert Allan
You are talking nonsense. The car ferry always ran at a profit. The reason people stopped using it was that it was artificially restricted, initially by the Tories, to one sailing per hour (even when there were three streakers available) and was allowed no late sailings while Western Ferries went from two sailings per hour to three and then four sailings per hour and a service till midnight.
There was a huge increase in traffic which CalMac was not allowed to cater for and the only route they had that was making substantial profits was very deliberately destroyed. The passenger only service can only run with a subsidy. A car ferry service properly run would need none and would bring visiting vehicular traffic into Dunoon which is a pretty important issue.
The six year tender made it highly unlikely that any commercial company would have boats built to put on the route. That was the intention of a ridiculous restricted tender.
The present passenger only service is designed to fail. No competent or commercial operation would have put boats on that can’t operate in a knee high swell.
Recent comments by Dave McEwan Hill
- The black arts of political spin betray SNP fears in Argyll & Bute
Glad For Argyll has brought this example of Labour Party deceit to our attention. I checked and the Labour Party has asked their supporters to vote Tory in several other seats as well.
So much for labour Party rules which suggests expulsion for any member that does this
Has For Argyll asked Labour’s Mary Galbraith what she thinks of being betrayed by her own party?
That would be real journalism.
They must have written Alan Reid off against the SNP in this seat but they have asked Labour supporters to vote LibDem in some other seats.
Panic is the only way to describe this sort of stuff.
- If you were at the ‘Indy’ debate in Dunoon Burgh Hall tonight, …
When people resort to silly ad hominem attacks we know they have lost any argument
- If you were at the ‘Indy’ debate in Dunoon Burgh Hall tonight, …
For me the most encouraging thing about the meeting was the number of people I had never come across before in a political context who were at the meeting. (I am the manager of the YES shop that was being shouted at, as Patsy points out)
As far Gordon MacInytre-Kemp goes the notes he was looking at that Gus McKay seems to find remarkable were some points he had scribbled down sitting having a snack in the 51st State before the meeting. Two of the other panelists also had notes which is normal and sensible at meetings. It might have helped Rob Shorthouse if he had had notes!
I assume the couple of us sitting at the front were the SNP members Gus was referring to. As we are working every day in YES with Green Party members, Labour party members, LibDem members, SSP members, even some Tory members and people who are in no party at all we were not the slightest bit put out by Sarah Collins stating that she was not a member of the SNP.
- UK Government plans to devolve financial levers to Scotland – and power to abolish the Bedroom Tax at will
But no control of oil and gas revenues,excise duty,VAT,fuel duty, corporation tax, etc etc – the big ones. What a joke.
- Council Meeting: resounding endorsement of Council Leader as inclusive way forward agreed
Blair and McIntyre abstained. That is the fact.
I feel very strongly for some of the SNP council group who find themselves being dragged into bad places on a call to their loyalty which of course keeps political parties functioning. This recess gives a respite which may allow some to escape from the predicaments they find themselves in. They have been ill served indeed by successive leaders but have to accept the responsibility of having chosen them in the first place.
Having been made aware of Roddy’s haverings on radio yesterday (advising the Scottish Government on how to do things!)it is now pretty evident that he lives on a different planet to the rest of us and likeable though he is he just doesn’t get it. Any notion that he is in charge is debateable indeed and it looks like the power base of Roddy’s empire is to the east of Argyll. However, as I pointed out earlier, he (and a couple close to him)can enjoy their extra payments in the meantime.
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