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I have rarely read such utter rubbish as …

Comment posted Russell stance on Argyll Ferries raises serious questions by Dave McEwan Hill.

I have rarely read such utter rubbish as the initial parts of this piece. Nobody is calling for a vehicle carrying subsidy. There is no attempt to justify a vehicle carrying subsidy. There never has been a subsidy on the vehicle carrying service. There is no need to subsidise a vehicle carrying service which was operating perfectly well without one despite the completely artificial restriction on its sailings which destroyed its figures.
You obviously still do not understand the issue.
The present passenger only service requires a massive subsidy.
The reason given for the introduction of Western Ferries on this route all those years ago was the need for a second competing server due to volume of traffic on the route. There has been a 600% increase in volume of traffic on this crossing since that point.

Dave McEwan Hill also commented

  • Ferryman


    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.
    Either you
    (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

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