Absolutely. And the weather forecast for tonight and …

Comment posted A83: Hazard warnings back in place by newsroom.

Absolutely.
And the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is not helpful.
We live with three negatives:
endessly checking and worrying if the road will be open in the morning/afternoon/night when you need to use it (where else do you have to do this?);
driving through that section on the Rest when the Wig Wag signs are on, knowing that ‘extreme caution’ can only mean ‘Don’t go’;
and feeling rhythms in Argyll slow and stall every time the road has to close.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    Bit of a ‘Doh’ moment. Confess to having forgotten that it’s an amphibian simply because of knowing it only as taking off and landing on the water.
    Being on the tarmac at Glasgow would make it a very seductive experience for both golf and scenery packages.
  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    Absolutely – and getting as close to Glasgow Green as possible for The People’s Palace…
    As a city defined by the river, Glasgow turns its back on it to the point that very few have any idea of the city from the river and the access it would make possible in a well considered service.
  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    Thank you.
    Re your airport idea – do you know if there is a viable berthing location at the airport?
    If there were and if Loch Lomond Seaplanes [or Skye Seaplanes as it now is at its new Skye base] were interested, there has always been a lure in a high-end charter pick-up service for arrivals at the airport to fly them off to Loch Lomond, Arran, Kintyre, Oban, Islay…
    So if an airport stop was achievable and the seaplane service went for this business opportunity, that would get double value from a river bus airport pontoon. It would be logical for Glasgow City Council to put in and maintain the infrastructure – under advice from experts including Brisbane City Council – and lease it to operators.
  • CalMac: the Douglas Fraser teaser
    The CalMac experience wiht CMAL over the Ballycastle-Rathline tender was one that we had originally included in this companion piece to this article and then edited out as it distracted from the main focus on CalMac’s early-days thinking about a Clyde River ferry. [http://forargyll.com/2014/04/interesting-business-scotland-interview-with-calmacs-martin-dorchester/]
    The Rathlin tender affair could not provide better evidence that the Scottish Government allowed CMAL to behave proactivey against CalMac’s interests in fighting to retain their Rathlin contract. This underlines the essential utter independence of the two state owned Scottish companies, one from another.
    The competing bid was an unable one. The bidder did not even have and could not find a boat to serve the route.
    CMAL stepped in and OFFERED him the use of the MV Canna – the very boat that CalMac was using for the service.
    This qualified the competing bid and made it look more capable. It won the contract.
    What CMAL and the Scottish Government were up to in shafting a state owned company, wholly owned by one of them and a sister of the other, also wholly state owned – is anyone’s guess. It looked very much like a backstairs political deal between the two governments concerned, with the Irish possibly interested in ‘Irishising’ the service.
    We are aware from authoritative sources in Northern Ireland that CalMac had – and knew they had – a strong legal case to challenge the award of the contract but were instructed by their sole shareholder not to do so.
    This curious incident does, though, underscore the fact that the CMAL fleet is CMAL’s asset and CMAL’s liability – and that CalMac has no ‘ownership’ or business reason to try to help out in finding ways to deploy CMAL’s upcoming surplus and ageing tonnage – an argument we make it the companion piece linked above and which just might apply in the case of the tender possibility punted as a possible CalMac itnerest in this article here.
  • Clyde RIver ferry: Business Scotland interview with CalMac’s Martin Dorchester
    As you say, it is all about the right sort of service – and you too seem to feel that the right service could work.

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16 Responses to Absolutely. And the weather forecast for tonight and …

  1. The Western Ferries crossing of the Firth of Clyde has been mentioned on the BBC as an alternative route.

    How long can the politicians leave in place a situation where an integral part of the transport network is run by a private monopoly with no control on profits?

    They don’t even have a published set of fares for commercial vehicles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • If you substituted ‘charges’ or ‘fares’ for ‘profits’ every time you complained about WF it’d look a bit less like your real gripe was against a company running a profitable business.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Not at all, I want them to make a profit – just not an excessive one. If you set the fare or charges they might make a loss, I don’t want that.

        They do though provide the only vehicle crossing of the Firth of Clyde. One that we can see is important, particularly when the A83 closes. Given all the fuss over tolls on the Skye Bridge (maximum charge £6?) why it acceptable to have a private company charging £20 for a short ferry crossing (billion pound Firth of Forth bridge crossings being free to use)?

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    • Very few ferry companies, private or otherwise, make their rates for commercial vehicles public, and for very good reason. Just ask CalMac how much they used to charge Charlle Black for his empty bread wagons! Oh, that’s right, they got caught for that one, didn’t they?!!!

      At least Western Ferries run extra boats when the road is shut. The first time it was closed by a landslide, about 5 years ago if I recall correctly, what did CalMac do? HEE-HAW. And they had boats available to put on too.

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      • Why would WF not publish their commercial ferry rates?

        You say they have good reason for doing so, does that mean if they were to publish them it might encourage competition, or that local people would be shocked at the costs added to goods and services reaching them?

        Maybe the charges are really low, so why not publish?

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        • Also I just checked but, as an example, Brittany Ferries don’t charge commercial rates for vans unless they are over 6.5m but WF will charge commercial rates on a minibus (people) over 5m.

          I stuck details of a laden 7m van into a website and was quoted cross channel prices from DFS Seaways, P&O Ferries, the Channel Tunnel, Transmanche Ferries and TranEuropa. There were several more but I stopped once the cross channel price was twice what I have heard the cross Firth of Clyde price is.

          How much do WF ferries charge commercial vehicles and why don’t they publish?

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    • Absolutely.
      And the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is not helpful.
      We live with three negatives:
      endessly checking and worrying if the road will be open in the morning/afternoon/night when you need to use it (where else do you have to do this?);
      driving through that section on the Rest when the Wig Wag signs are on, knowing that ‘extreme caution’ can only mean ‘Don’t go’;
      and feeling rhythms in Argyll slow and stall every time the road has to close.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • You would have to do endless checking of weather forecasts if you want to get to work, college, hospital, the airport etc. using the passenger ferry service between Dunoon and Gourock which has bathtubs too small to cope with the weather.

        What is your problem newsroom, it is not like the A83 is the only road, surely people are spoilt for choice? Nobody has put an alternative in place so clearly there is no demand is there? Why not let a private company run the A83 and charge tolls, would you be against that if so why?

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          • I am sorry but people who use the Argyll Ferries service have to check how they are going to get to an from work on a daily basis.

            Newsroom seems to think that is unacceptable for a road, what is the difference. The solution for the ferries will cost a lot less than the eventual solution for the A83.

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          • Ferryman: one of the problems – the weather – could disrupt the daily journey to work whatever sort of ferry service you have, so there’s something about your attitude that just doesn’t add up, because when people mention the idea of a tunnel (weatherproof) you immediately look for an excuse to pour scorn on them – you’re your own worst enemy.

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        • RW: the current ferries are too small to cope with the weather that is why people are unsure, even in summer, about getting to and from work.

          I pour scorn on people who just come up with vacuous ideas. You mention tunnels but have no idea whatsoever about costs, traffic volumes etc. We might just as well discuss using airships or Star Trek transporters.

          Why are you not suggesting tunnels to solve the A83 problem, they would be under the landslides?

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          • You’re right – a tunnel would solve the landslide problem, and the road would be less vulnerable to disruption by winter weather. However, until there’s greater clarity from Transport Scotland on what their surveys and studies lead them to recommend for fixing the problem there’s no point in talking about it, unlike your situation at Dunoon where no ferry would be immune to stormy weather, making a tunnel worth considering now, before large sums of money are committed to the ferry system.

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