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It is now 12:00 and that is the …

Comment posted Gourock-Dunoon ferry: the authoritative position by ferryman.

It is now 12:00 and that is the Argyll Ferry service suspended, to be reviewed at 15:00!

I have had a look at various websites and the wind does not seem to be more than about 20mph.

Neither of the current bathtubs are fit for the purpose of running a regular ferry service on the Firth of Clyde. As has been said all along larger vessels are needed.

What is your solution for this newsroom (aka soapbox). You were in favour of using the bathtubs for the Games, where do you stand now?

ferryman also commented

  • Argyll ferries still seem to be off.
    This is really farcical.

    The weather is not so nice now, but its well within normal for this part of the world.

    Had this been Games day it would have been a total disaster.

  • Yes, it is bright and sunny weather we would be pleased to have for Cowal Games. But one of the bathtubs cannot cope with the breeze! If this happens at the Games the capacity on the route will have dropped by 50% compared with last year (more if the other bathtubs cannot run). Large numbers of people cannot simply make their way Western because they too are limited on how many passengers they can carry.

    Maybe the weather will be good, maybe it will be bad, but this is a ridiculous gamble.

  • The Observer showed a picture of people streaming of the Saturn for last year’s Cowal Games. The car deck and ramp look full and people are queuing to come down the stairs onto the car deck. There are a lot of brollies up.

    Saturn carried around 500 passengers. The Clyde Clipper and the other bathtubs only carry about 250 people each. So this year the capacity on the route will have been reduced by 25% from 1000 to 750 passengers – assuming the bathtubs run ( with possible prosecutions in the offing that is a big assumption ).

    The Saturn also had two substantial saloons as well as covered deck spaces. The bathtubs will be much more cramped if it raining.

    This seems a very blikered approach, just looking at ferry costs in isolation and ignoring the risk to the Cowal Games.
    Maybe the weather will be good this year, but this solution is going to come unstuck one year.

    Decent sized ferries that can cope with the weather are needed on this route.

  • Newsroom (aka soapbox) campaigned for a passenger only ferry service. We got one but the bathtubs are just not up to the job. Does Newsroom say sorry, I was wrong, nope. Instead it carries on almost seeming to argue that we don’t need a passenger only service, too much capacity etc. Any progress made by people arguing for larger vehicle ferries is met by slightly hysterical and inaccurate articles.

    When a third bathtub is put on for Cowal Games newsroom unbelievably welcomes this!

    When I posted the comment above I expected newsroom to respond with howls of protest abouts its editorial independence and journalistic integrity. Instead there was silence – perhaps newsroom did not read the comment?

    So newsroom do you have sponsors, do you get grants from the Council? If you do have sponsors who are they?

  • I don’t like incompetence. I disagree with a passenger only ferry but if they put one in in needs to be one that works.

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 ]

    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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