Comment posted Research reveals shock insights into reality of Dunoon ferry service provision by ferryman.
No, Caimbeul said Western charged £110, but CalMac (Cowal ferries) quoted £78. So WF were £32 or 41% more expensive.
The CalMac price sounds a lot more reasonable for a van, and the vehicle portion of the service was still turning a profit.
No doubt WF could charge a premium because of the poor timetable CalMac were forced to operate, commercial traffic cannot hang about (drivers to pay, goods to deliver). Now of course there is no competition at all.
ferryman also commented
- That is pretty much as I thought, so a record was kept of the total number of passengers, but no record of how many were on foot and how many were in vehicles. This means that any statistics showing foot passengers only are a guestimate of some kind.
- I believe CalMac did at one time offer discounts to regular commercial users to try to increase usage and profits on the already profitable vehicle portion of its service. My understanding is that WF somehow managed to stop that – can’t have competition.
It would be good to know what WF’s current rates are for commercial vehicles particularly HGVs.
- Trigger: what have you done!!! RW will start prattling on about gangways again.
You have made an interesting comment though. The number of passengers on a ferry have to be accounted for. Strictly speaking it should not set sail until the master knows how many are aboard as he has to stay within the limits of his passenger certificate.
Some statistics have been quoting foot passengers only (i.e. less those in vehicles) , but how did they get those figures particularly if they were passing bus passengers up the gangway?
It sounds like the foot passenger only statistics must be some kind of guestimate rather than an actual record of usage.
- Prices will be even higher now.
I have just got a commercial quote for a van, return, Dover Calais with DFDS for £240 inc. VAT which I make £204 excluding VAT.
The crossing is 90 minutes which is six time longer than WF.
So the DFDS equivalent of the WF crossing is £34 (£204/6).
In other words the WF crossing is over 3 times the cost of the DFDS crossing (£110/£34), based on time. The DFDS ships all have a cruising speed above 20knots, so in terms of distance the WF rate is even worse. On top of that DFDS has all sorts of facilities making the crossing more comfortable and so even better value.
It would be interesting to know what the current WF fares are particularly for HGVs.
We need competition on this route. High fares will feed through to all goods and services and also prevent the Firth of Clyde being used when the A83 is blocked.
- The historic pier was excluded from the tender. That eliminated the two seaworthy vehicle ferries that could have been available in the ridiculous timetable.
Now, as we have just seen, the contract was varied to allow use of the historic pier. There is no reason historic pier should not continue to be used or for its exclusion from the original tender. Somebody had it in for the vehicle service.
Recent comments by ferryman
- Argyll Flyer in Ardmaleish boatyard
Will the current linkspan works be completed by Friday 21/June?
Working on the linkspan while the Argyll Flyer was having its recent scheduled maintenance would have made sense, but they did not do it.
Bring forward maintenance on the Argyll Flyer by a minimum of 6 months and more than likely 8-9 months seems odd.
Why are they not waiting till September to work on the Argyll Flyer. That is closer to when she is due her maintenance and I hear the Gourock linkspan will be out of action again then?
- Shetland Line remains in legal contention with Scottish Government on Northlink Ferries tender
Regarding the Dunoon Gourock ferry service one of the ‘needs and requirements’ the Scottish Government failed to specify was that the vessels employed could actually operate reliably in the weather on the Firth of Clyde.
How incompetent is that!
- Argyll Flyer spotted going into Ardmaleish yard on Bute this afternoon
The Ali Cat was having technical problems whilst the Argyll Flyer was being maintained recently, resulting in periods of no service.
Following its maintenance the Argyll Flyer was indeed continuing to suffer technical problems.
The linkspan at Gourock is now being serviced with the result that the Argyll ferries is, once again running a reduced service. This happened right through the Dunoon Film Festival.
It is beyond belief that the Argyll Flyer maintenance and the repairs to the linkspan should not have been planned to run concurrently and without clashing with the Film Festival.
- Scottish Government forced to intervene on loose-mouthed Russell gaffe in Campbeltown
JimB asked “why does Dunoon not set out to attract day trippers?”
Dunoon would make an excellent destination for people from Glasgow seeking both Day Tripper and Weekend Breaks.
Why don’t they come though?
Well they certainly won’t drive the long way round, it is too far. There are plenty of other attractive destinations that are closer to home.
A relatively short drive and the pleasant experience of a ferry crossing to the town ought to be attractive, but then we hit the price barrier – £44.50 for a young family of 4 in a car.
Why would people pay that premium to come to Dunoon when they can go elsewhere?
The passenger only service is unattractive because of its unreliability.
What Dunoon needs is a truly competing vehicle ferry services.
- Reminder: Argyll Ferries on ‘refit’ service schedule
The scottish Government has failed to deliver on the transferable ferry tickets it was going to setup. The bus scheme is a bodge that adds anything upto two hours to travel time.
Any news on what they are going to do for Cowal Games or are they just going to try another gamble on the weather.
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