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Okay, but rolling and pitching violently, surely the …

Comment posted Russell stance on Argyll Ferries raises serious questions by Peter Wade.

Okay, but rolling and pitching violently, surely the Ali Cat or any other vessel would not be sailing in those conditions with or without a rescue vessel or an MCA exemption to carry one.

Also if the weather was that bad and the Ali Cat set out, would the captain not advise that the crossing might be rough and fthat passengers are advised to remain seated during the crossing. I have heard similar announcements on other crossings.

I feel that you are missing the point, if Kieth Brown says that the service is operating as per contract how can this be if passenger safety is being put at risk. Also if safety was being regularly put hat risk why has the Ali Cat been allowed to stay on the route for almost 10 years. Also why if she was so bad was she used for Argyll’s bid and why did the Scottish Goverment give the contract to them?

Something is wrong here and I feel that the balance points to the fact that Argyll, the MCA and the Scottish Goverment are content for the Ali Cat to stay on service. That is even before the competition issues.

The local campaigners don’t like the vessel or the Flyer as they are passenger only ferries and this issue is being over played to suit their purposes. Much like the disdain for the pontoons, despite the fact that the will improve dockings.

I guess like everyone, we all await a conclusion. I just feel lthat promises are cheap when they come from politicians. The reason for stating this is that promises have been made before and broken, especially from jim Mather. Do you not think that if he and others could have found another solution to the current service, then one would have been found.

Also if you have advised mike Russell does that make you Captain Sandy.

Peter Wade also commented

  • “You need to make a choice about whether or not there is to be a town centre ferry service.” I don’t think anyone, including Western, has argued for the removal of the passenger service.  

    Despite the initial startup, the current vessels are reliable. Don’t forget the Streakers cancelled sailings in bad weather and the contractual relief for bad weather cancellations appears in other ferry tender contracts.

    “If you wish you can then run these large vessels just passenger only. Alternatively you can carry vehicles on them reducing the subsidy required and so making them more economic – that is what I mean.” Yes the revenue from cars will reduce the subsidy, however the associated operating subsidy for a vehicle service will still exceed the current levels for a passenger-only service. Cowal Ferries £3.2m Argyll Ferries £1.75m. This is just one year, multiply that over 25 years and the difference pays for new vessels and pontoons and still saves the taxpayer a fortune.  

    Any increase in subsidy associated with reintroducing a vehicle service, is subsidising a vehicle service, this is unlawful.  Also, the reporting requirements contained within the European report will not allow 90% of the costs to be allocated to the passenger service.

    Even if you add the cost of pontoons to that of new passenger-only vessels, then the cost will still be cheaper than a new vehicle ferry.   

    “The net result of the current fiasco is that the cost of decent ferry will be spent on a service that still will not function.” You say above that a bigger passenger vessel would be required therefore why will this not function.

    Western has the ability to increase frequency and with the bigger boats will have plenty of capacity. McGills have changed their timetable to ensure that they get on the right sailing.

    “Meanwhile Inverclyde Council contemplate spending yet more money for a ring road to cope with the diverted traffic.” CalMac only carried 60,000 cars a year that equates to roughly only 10 cars per hour, this will have no effect on congestion. Also the traffic which was previously turning right to head west, now bypasses Gourock completely by using Western.

    In the end a solution that costs more cannot be economic.

  • The SNP have had 5 years to sort this, they were the party that specified the tender and awarded the contract to Argyll. They also initiated the european report. Guilty.
  • What do you mean by economic?
  • “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.” Nonsense. Evidence please.”

    Dave, when the appendum to the main report came out, due to the inaccuracy of the initial figures it came up with a different conclusion.

    “There are two logical solutions to the issue” neither of these are logical, they are at best parochial.

    “The putting on of two unsuitable craft indicates that option(b)was chosen somewhere in the Transport Department, no they were approved by the SNP, is it the SNP who have designed the service to fail.

    The Council want to improve the facilities in Dunoon  as quickly as possible. What do you mean by “stripping of comfortable passenger amenities at Gourock”? Is that the removal of the sweetie machines? .

    Two of the Streakers operated on the Bute service, its not as if they were sitting around doing nothing until they were replaced. Explain “significantly profitable” none of CalMac’s routes makes/made a profit, they are all subsidized. Restrictions on the route were put in place to stop the cross-subsidisation of the vehicle service, CalMac could have put on extra sailings on a commercial basis at any time, and did so during the Cowal Games. “All sailings left Dunoon full of traffic leaving very often a couple of lanes of traffic behind” That is the biggest whopper I have ever heard in my life.

    “Vehicle carrying is a very lucrative operation” where are your facts and figures? Don’t use Western for an example as they operate different boats on a shorter crossing to their own piers. The profit on CalMac’s vehicle was achieved by allocating 90% of the costs to the passenger service.

    “The vast majority of residents in the Dunoon area agree that a Dunoon/Gourock crossing would be their vehicle crossing of choice” Utter rubbish, Western Ferries have had the majority of vehicle traffic since  in 1977 (source monopolies and mergers commission 1983).

    “The Dunoon/Gourock route also brought a significant (what is significant?) volume of visiting vehicular traffic into Dunoon” no it did not, “which now goes nowhere near Dunoon” how do you know this? Are you just making this up?

    “The busiest crossing in Europe” no its not. I suggest that you do some more research.

    Dave, your piece is nothing more than gutter trash, this piece reeks of massive exaggeration, invention, supposition and make believe. Ever thought of writing fairy tales? As for not living in the area, don’t worry I can smell your bull from here.  

  • Dave, the past is past. Looking forward the cost difference between buying and operating a new vehicle ferry compared to costs of operating a passenger ferry will be millions. Hence why the tender result was passenger only.

    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. Do you not think if it accurate it would have been acted upon?

    The simple truth is that when the streaker was operating 90% of the costs were shown against the passenger service and the European report now makes this apportionment impossible going forward. It is time that you and others accepted this because this is the future.

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