I think this is quite interesting. This problem …

Comment posted A83 closed in both directions by ferryman.

I think this is quite interesting. This problem caused serious inconveince to my family yet there are hardly any postings here apart from an automaton. Does this mean that ForArgyll is really a complete fiction?

ferryman also commented

  • All is explained here;

    http://www.brocher.com/Ferries/expensiveferry.htm

    Colintraive-Rhubodach is described as a contender but when you take these factors into account Western is flagged as being the top;

    (a) Length of crossing: the shorter the crossing, the cheaper it should be.

    (b) Volume of traffic: the more traffic the service carries, the cheaper it should be.

    (c) Nature of service: the more basic the service, the cheaper it should be.

    The prices are a bit out of date, but so are traffic volumes which have increased (now a monopoly) and the service has not changed.

  • This is really quite interesting. The raod closure caused my family serious inconvenience yet there are hardly any post here. Does this mean ForArgyll is not really read or is serviced mainly, as seems to be the case, by an automaton?
  • It matters because an eminent economist has argued that what is now a monopoly service is the most expensive ferry crossing in the world, making profits well in excess of industry norms.

    I did not mention RET. The Scottish Government should simply cap the profits at an acceptable level, I believe it is within their powers to do so.

    What is the justification for not doing that? They are spending billions on crossings of the Firth of Forth which will be free to use, yet to cross the Firth of Clyde you have to pay dues to a private company.

    The situation regarding tolls on the Skye bridge was deemed unacceptable, what is the difference here.

    The A83 is going to be in trouble for many years even once an emergency road is in place. Having access to a large part of Argyll controlled by a private company is not acceptable.

  • Sorry Robert you fail the Turing test.
  • If we had competition on ferry services across the Firth of Clyde then for a lot of people taking a vehicle ferry between Dunoon and Gourock might be a viable alternative option to the A83.

    Currently of course this alternative route is a private monopoly.

    You may wish to contrast the situation on crossing the Firth of Clyde with that on the Firth of Forth where literally billions are being spent on providing bridges which anybody will be able to cross free.

    I do not think there is a sensible argument for bridges or tunnels on the firth of Clyde ( though at those prices why not ? ) but at least let us have some competition on ferry prices or restrict them to a reasonable level!

    Look how much it costs for a family of tourists to make the crossing to Cowal. What does it cost for a commercial vehicle to cross? Should we not have a reliable, robust and fairly price transport system in the West of Scotland?

Recent comments by ferryman

  • Responses to Scottish Government’s Information Day on potential Gourock-Dunoon ferry service
    As usual newsroom bends things by quoting the MVA report as saying the vehicle service ‘could be feasible’.

    In fact the reports states; “This study has therefore demonstrated that, given the assumptions made and analysis
    undertaken here,a passenger and vehicle ferry service IS feasible.”
    [ see section 9.1.10 http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/files/documents/reports/j278759/j278759.pdf ]

    I am not surprised that Serco are interested in what is Scotland’s busiest vehicle ferry route particularly when the competition turns such a massive profit margin from poorly located ports.

    If Serco have wider ambitions for ferries in Scotland, as it seems they do, then Dunoon Gourock would make sense.

  • Scottish Government moves on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services provision
    “A lifeline ferry service is required in order for a community to be viable.”

    So Dunoon is lifeline then – good.

  • Scottish Government moves on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services provision
    Newsroom says that Dunoon Gourock is “not a lifeline service”.

    I think Dunoon Gourock is an essential lifeline service but obviously Soapbox aka Newsroom does not.

    So where is the definition of “lifeline” so that we can decide who is correct?

    The answer is that there is no definition – Transport Scotland shall decide, route by route, to whom that applies.

    As to contractual terms, look at Dunoon Gourock, anybody can run anything there is absolutely no contractual need for the service to be reliable. So if your route is goung to be tendered in this way you are totally unprotected.

    Of course Dunoon Gourock is only a piddling little route – well no, according to the Scottish Government it is the most important Scottish route for vehicle transport and significant even on European terms, but that of course is not enough to make it lifeline in Newsroom’s eyes.

  • So what will Transport Scotland talk to Brussels about on Dunoon-Gourock ferry?
    Read the report.

    The taxpayer and the people of Dunoon/Cowal can have a passenger only service and pay a subsidy for it.

    Alternatively they can pay the same subsidy and get a passenger and vehicle service.

    Of course if they choose the vehicle service then the subsidy is paid back via berthing fees both to the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council – in other words to the public purse it is for practical purposes free (which the passenger only service is not). Not only that but the operator of the vehicle service makes a larger profit.

    All of which in a Scottish Government produced report meets all EC requirements.

  • Lairds powering on to get Western’s boats completed
    So they are not actually as promised going to be in service for the games this year?

    If they were in service what would the additional car carrying capacity and people carrying capacity per hour have been?

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18 Responses to I think this is quite interesting. This problem …

  1. If we had competition on ferry services across the Firth of Clyde then for a lot of people taking a vehicle ferry between Dunoon and Gourock might be a viable alternative option to the A83.

    Currently of course this alternative route is a private monopoly.

    You may wish to contrast the situation on crossing the Firth of Clyde with that on the Firth of Forth where literally billions are being spent on providing bridges which anybody will be able to cross free.

    I do not think there is a sensible argument for bridges or tunnels on the firth of Clyde ( though at those prices why not ? ) but at least let us have some competition on ferry prices or restrict them to a reasonable level!

    Look how much it costs for a family of tourists to make the crossing to Cowal. What does it cost for a commercial vehicle to cross? Should we not have a reliable, robust and fairly price transport system in the West of Scotland?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • The Western Ferries service is surely unlikely to be that much more expensive than a competing service, so the viability of a ferry as an alternative to the A83 is unlikely to change if there was once more a vehicle ferry on the town route.
      The ideal would be free – or road equivalent tariff – ferry services on every route, on the principle that vehicle operators pay for the infrastructure through road tax, and you’d charge foot passengers what they’d pay if they could do the same trip by bus.
      I would have thought that ideally a tunnel would be preferable – no more weather related delay and disruption, and for passengers bus (and train) services could be better integrated.
      It’s the capital and operating costs versus those for new ferries and termini, but also putting a cost on weather disruption of ferries, or conversely weighting the tunnel costs for its ‘dependability’ value.
      With regard to the A83, my recollection in the past has been that when blizzards close the Rest the weather also stops the ferries, and so I’d prefer the tunnel option.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • The Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour. In Turing’s original illustrative example, a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with a human and a machine designed to generate performance indistinguishable from that of a human being. All participants are separated from one another. If the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. The test does not check the ability to give the correct answer; it checks how closely the answer resembles typical human answers. The conversation is limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen so that the result is not dependent on the machine’s ability to render words into audio

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • What on earth does it matter that the crossing to Cowal is run by a private monopoly? The west coast islands all have ferry services run by a monopoly too! The only difference is that it is the taxpayer that has to fund them, via the hopelessly inefficient behemoth that is known as Caledonian MacBrayne.

      As for the suggestion that RET be applied to the Hunter’s Quay service, were the same formula applied that the SNP already applied to west coast communities, then fares would actually have to be raised!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • It matters because an eminent economist has argued that what is now a monopoly service is the most expensive ferry crossing in the world, making profits well in excess of industry norms.

        I did not mention RET. The Scottish Government should simply cap the profits at an acceptable level, I believe it is within their powers to do so.

        What is the justification for not doing that? They are spending billions on crossings of the Firth of Forth which will be free to use, yet to cross the Firth of Clyde you have to pay dues to a private company.

        The situation regarding tolls on the Skye bridge was deemed unacceptable, what is the difference here.

        The A83 is going to be in trouble for many years even once an emergency road is in place. Having access to a large part of Argyll controlled by a private company is not acceptable.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • One advantage of a fixed link would be that any government would find it difficult to charge tolls when all other bridge and tunnel tolls have been abolished.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Most expensive in the world? Hard to believe that statement ferryman.
          Was always led to understand the Colintrive / Rhubodach was most expensive ferry crossing in Europe considering time taken and distance covered for passage. £18.25 return for journey

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • All is explained here;
            http://www.brocher.com/Ferries/expensiveferry.htm

            Colintraive-Rhubodach is described as a contender but when you take these factors into account Western is flagged as being the top;

            (a) Length of crossing: the shorter the crossing, the cheaper it should be.

            (b) Volume of traffic: the more traffic the service carries, the cheaper it should be.

            (c) Nature of service: the more basic the service, the cheaper it should be.

            The prices are a bit out of date, but so are traffic volumes which have increased (now a monopoly) and the service has not changed.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I think this is quite interesting. This problem caused serious inconveince to my family yet there are hardly any postings here apart from an automaton. Does this mean that ForArgyll is really a complete fiction?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. For comparison see today’s BBC Scotland News report on Highland Council’s public consultations on possible solutions to the A890 Strome Ferry bypass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. I’m surprised that the disruption and extended journey times don’t seem to be flagged on the West Coast Motors and Scottish Citylink websites, and it would be very useful to have an emergency timetable for the route south from Inveraray to Campbeltown (and from Tarbet to Glasgow?) to avoid passengers having to stand at bus stops in foul weather for goodness knows how long. Any chance of this, Citylink / West Coast?
    I know that traffic gets glued up on the A82 diversion route between Tarbet and Ardlui due to the very substandard road, but even so it must be possible to predict the ‘earliest delayed timings’, surely?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Scottish Citylink’s response to why the ‘Service Updates’ section on their website doesn’t mention the disruption caused by the A83 closure is to say that they think the road might reopen soon. In this weather, I somehow doubt that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. This is really quite interesting. The raod closure caused my family serious inconvenience yet there are hardly any post here. Does this mean ForArgyll is not really read or is serviced mainly, as seems to be the case, by an automaton?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Only recently discovered ForArgyll – needs more publicity!
    My fear concerning ‘The Rest’ is that there will be a terrible tragedy before anything is done to solve the current problem. As usual too much talk and not enough action! Get rid of Trident from the UK and we would have more funds for public safety and much more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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