The Kilcreggan to Gourock passenger ferry which serves the Rosneath peninsula has been put back in the arena for another gladiatorial bout.
Jackie Baillie, the local MSP, provided with information from Freedom of Information [FoI] requests by a local resident, Harry Cathcart, is again calling for intervention by the relevant authority, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport [SPT] over the handling of this ferry service.
Mr Cathcart’s FoI requests are said to show that SPT’s ferry operator, Clydelink, has been fined over £2,500 for late or missed sailings on the route since taking over the tender in April 2012; and that SPT has issued Clydelink with eight penalty points following an inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which identified several failings with the day-to-day running of the service. These are said to have included discrepancies in the accreditation of the ferry’s skipper – not itself a new matter, as it was the subject of dispute earlier in Clydelink’s period of operation.
There was no information on how many missed sailings a fine of £2,500 adds up to; nor of what ‘penalty points’ mean and how they work? Does each point incur some actual penalty? Is there a threshold that, when accumulated ‘penalty points’ pass, leads to some dire penalty?
We asked SPT this morning to help us understand the context of these matters.
In response, an SPT spokesperson says:
‘The only penalty incurred due to an operational difficulty was £274.40, relating to the inability to sail once on 13th April. The other penalties were issued over late returns of passenger statistics and in no way connect to the operation of the ferry.
‘It’s worth remembering this contract was approved on the basis it would deliver savings to the public purse. To date, more than £150,000 has been delivered compared to the previous contract.’
We have asked SPT for information relating specifically to the ‘penalty points’ issue and will add it here when we get it.
In the meantime, SPT’s clarification that, of the – itself modest – £2,500 fine , that only £274 of it related to missed sailings – a SINGLE missed sailing very early in the contract by a new service, redresses what might have been a wrong done to Clydelink in the inference that the company had missed a significant number of sailings.
A spokesperson for Clydelink has advised us that Jackie Baillie’s statement is in the hands of its legal advisers and as such it is inappropriate for the company to comment at this time.