MSP tells CalMac Mallaig-Armadale service should not be cannibalised to augment Oban-Mull

Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoc, has already written to CalMac Ferries about their proposed new ferry provisions.

He is insistent that it is not acceptable to attempt to solve an Oban-Mull service frequency problem at the expense of the Mallaig-Armadale service.

The MSP says: ‘As I have mentioned before, the increased frequency of sailings is to be welcomed, however I am concerned that there is an Oban/Mull problem being solved at the expense of Mallaig/Armadale service. This must not be allowed to happen.

‘Part of the proposals include re-deploying the MV Coruisk to the Oban-Craignure route to meet the expected significant increase in demand as a result of RET.

‘However the same significant increase in demand applies equally to the Mallaig-Armadale route. Therefore, the MV Coruisk should stay where it is, supplemented by the Lord of the Isles. I back the Sleat Transport Forum with their efforts in this regard. A separate alternative solution must be found for the Oban/Mull service.

‘If a new vessel cannot be built in the short term, chartering should be considered and in the longer term, we should give thought to building a new vessel, possibly a hybrid one. This of course would require upfront costs but the new vessel could also be tendered for and hopefully then built at Fergusons yard, with the prospect that such a vessel could be designed to have a much lower operating cost.

‘It is necessary, given the wider goal of improvements for all, that CalMac, and the Scottish Government, give further consideration to these matters prior to the implementation of the new timetable’.

Anyone wold admire the energetic commitment of a constituency MSP to his territory =- and Mr Thompson’s core argument about the robbing of Peter to support Paul is a sustainable position.

However he undermined himself in remarks which betray the fact that his understanding of ferry operations is less than expert.

Running his flag up the pole of building another hybrid vessel and saying at the same time that such a vessel could be designed to have a much lower operating cost is technically a contradiction in terms.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • This is pure humbug or, more likely, further evidence of systemic failure by Scottish Govt to fulfill its ferry provision commitments

    Thompson must ask this very basic question of Scottish Govt /Mackay ( Minister of Transport)

    (1) Why,with 2 years lead time, Scottish Govt has NOT provided the required funding to A&B County Council to modify Craignure to accommodate the MV Isle of Lewis from Summer 2016?

    Had this funding been in place by 2 Q 2015, which another Scottish Govt report stated as a requirement, then the necessary modification at Craignure may have been completed in time to leave the Coruisk on the Mallaig- Armadale route

    Thompson should also ask Scottish Govt (SG ) why it has failed to implement its own 2012 Ferry Plan. The Plan identified 6 new ferries (3 large units and 3 smaller units) would be required to be delivered by 2019. SG has only committed to 3 new ferries (2 large/1 small ferries ) by 2019

    A huge funding gap for current, and future ferry provision now exists . Will Thompson vote for increased ferry funding as/when the opportunity occurs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    robtrythall November 24, 2015 12:03 pm Reply
  • Enough with the hybrid ferry nonsense; the wee ones are expensive enough, a large one will be stupidly expensive on top of the already crippling surcharge for CalMac goldplating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    db November 24, 2015 1:41 pm Reply
  • My understanding from previous posts by people that seemed to have a lot of knowledge of the new timetables was that Mallaig-Armadale would have an increased service next summer. I saw the new arrangements somewhere else recently and they seemed to concur with that. There is a bridge to Skye as well so I’m not sure what this MSP is greeting about. As long as everyone gets extra sailings to test the increase in loads they should all be happy. There is no guarantee that carryings will double, they didn’t on the trial routes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie November 24, 2015 2:45 pm Reply
  • All very well, but with the upcoming severe financial cuts by Osborne, and the announcements that Scotland is not prepared for terrorist attacks, ferry provision may not be anywhere near the top of “essential services”. I am missing something here? How can a company introduce an enhanced service to it’s customers, if it doesn’t have the basics (ships) to provide these additional services. Surely if they think that they need to add extra sailings, they use the existing facilities for longer hours. Has the introduction of RET (at cost to the taxpayer) resulted in even more expense (to the taxpayer) in the provision of more ships, and even more subsidy to run them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Dunoon Lad November 24, 2015 6:41 pm Reply
    • Ferries are devolved and the responsibility of Holyrood; Gideon doesn’t get a say. What with the ill-thought-out RET policy and hybrid this and battery-powered that, the magic money tree will no doubt provide.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      db November 24, 2015 7:50 pm Reply
  • Is Skye an island any more? They lobbied long and hard for a bridge. They lobbied long and hard to get charges removed from the bridge.
    Sorry, there are more deserving cases than Skye to draw on limited vessels. The Mallaig service is a nice to have, not an essential lifeline. You can’t have it both ways.
    If there is so much demand, have a word with Pentland Ferries or Western Ferries to find an private sector answer, not another hand in the tax bowl.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    Jerry McIver November 25, 2015 7:28 am Reply
    • The ferry always seems to be busy and it is not all tourists.

      I suppose it could be argued in the same way that Dunoon is not an island so does not need a subsidised ferry crossing? 🙂

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      Lundavra November 25, 2015 7:35 am Reply
  • It is worth adding that given the Lord of the Isles record over the last year on the Lochboisdale to Mallaig service there are likely to be many days when she does not leave uist thereby unable to carry out her Mallaig to Armadale schedule

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    jonny November 25, 2015 7:33 pm Reply

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