CalMac 2016 Summer Timetable now published – NO change to Ardrossan-Campbeltown Ferry

They really don’t learn – not Transport Scotland, not CalMac and not, apparently, Campbeltown.

The three year pilot provision of a sumer season ferry service between Ardrossan in Ayrshire and Campbeltown in Kintye which ended in 2015 – hugely expensive and a failure by any sane judgment – was made a permanent commitment for political reasons.

In truth, what the service might deliver has never been tested.

The timetable for the pilot period was not remotely the economic development instrument it should have been – which, as an experiment measured against set criteria to establish the value of the contribution it made [which was not done] – would have justified the assignment of substantial public monies.

The timetable was no more than a lifestyle-support for residents of Campbeltown and Kintyre, enabling a full day return shopping trip to Glasgow every Friday – and thereby taking money and economic activity OUT of the struggling area.

The entire provision did not offer a single incoming day return trip for visitors to Ayrshire to get a sense of Campbeltown. Anyone wishing to try out the town as inexpensively as possible could not do so without the additional expense of – not one  – but TWO nights’ B&B.

The side offer of a connection to the Isle of Arran was also scheduled to suit the needs of Arran and not Kintyre – providing only a single calling in at Brodick on Arran FROM Campbeltown on Saturdays; and then carrying on to Ardrossan. This added to the Arran schedule of mainland sailings; and while making it possible for Kintyre folk or visitors to go to Arran, it did not offer any return service on that – or on any other day.

This entire schedule was configured on covertly taking from not giving seriously to Kintyre.

Of the two single passages in the total of six weekly sailings, one arrived in Campbeltown at 21.20 on Thursday nights; and one left Campbeltown at 07.00 on Saturdays.

The two sailings in the second weekly return from Ardrossan on Sundays offered precisely 25 minutes in Campbeltown – not enough time to leave the terminal building but enough, perhaps, to take a quick panoramic photograph of the Campbeltown seafront while standing in line to get back on the boat. This arrived in Campbeltown at 16.30 on Sunday afternoon and left again at 16.55.

After For Argyll’s immediate initial analysis of the endemic inability of this timetable to offer any strategic economic development whatsoever to Kintyre – and after three years of miserably inadequate carrying figures over the pilot period, when the service was nevertheless dolloped into permanence from the political pork barrel [it’s only public money] there was universal acceptance of the financial and economic indefensibility of the schedule.

Things were to change, they said.

But no, they haven’t.

The timetable published for the 2016 summer season is exactly the same as the scandalously useless three pilot timetable.

Not responsibility by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland for delivering best value for public money; not Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council joint responsibility for the economic development of Kintyre; and not Campbeltown’s responsibility to get its own shoulder to that wheel instead of simply taking additional and wholly insupportable lifestyle support from the Scottish taxpayer has been enough, even together, to create an acceptable timetable.

We are now looking at least at one more year of an knowing waste of public money on this ‘service’ – public money at a volume for which Scotland – if not the SNP Scottish Government – has other urgent uses, not least in its failing health and failing education services.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • what was the point of the meetings to hear what people need, perhaps it’s not going to be Calmac!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

    Richard January 27, 2016 2:50 pm Reply
    • Doesn’t really matter whether the service is run by CalMac or not, or whether it employs black-painted or pink=painted vessels. The point is to devise a useful contribution to the transport network. Underline ” useful “.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

      Arthur Blue January 27, 2016 3:19 pm Reply
  • I might add that spending the money – and over the years it will be a lot of money – on the Rest, on which the whole of Mid-Argyll, Kintyre, and Islay depends every day in the year, might help the region a lot more than this ferry. And if we are cynical about these things it might buy a few more votes per pound spent too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    Arthur Blue January 27, 2016 6:16 pm Reply
  • How can I travel on holiday Ardrossan to Campbeltown on a Saturday when I want to go on holiday in Kintyre on a Saturday to Saturday changeover, driving from England ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    Peter Aikman March 31, 2016 9:54 pm Reply
    • As you have seen from this article – we could not agree more about the idiocy of this schedule – and are confounded utterly by the fact that this schedule this was retained AFTER a three year piloting of this route, with For Argyll alone identifying,then and now, the extravagant unfitness of this schedule.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

      newsroom April 1, 2016 12:30 am Reply
      • It is entirely fitting that you deal in stupid. I dare say you are qualified in these matters,given your supercilious “articles” to date!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

        A.Salmon April 1, 2016 5:49 pm Reply
      • “Confounded” your word
        An apt description of the feeling when reading most of the “articles” on here.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

        KEITHO April 2, 2016 10:10 am Reply
        • Correction – I think you mean most of the responses from people hiding behind silly names.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          Robert Wakeham April 2, 2016 2:42 pm Reply
    • Hi Peter, why don’t you phone Calmac, I am sure they will adapt their timetable to suit your personal diary?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      sara Swann April 1, 2016 8:52 am Reply
  • At an £80 return RET fare things have changed since this service was introduced. If people don’t want to be ferried at less cost than a long journey round the Rest, then either nobody wants to visit the area or else the service is not adding anything to the freedom of movement that car drivers expect from their expensive vehicle ownership.
    Car ferries should be extensions of the road system and not some throwback dream of how Paw, Maw and the Weans went on the steamer to holidays in far away ports in Kintyre and other forgotten Clyde Coastal towns.
    Kintyre needs re-thought out road access from Central Scotland, a tunnel to Cowal, a new road across to Otter Ferry where a fixed crossing also has to be the long term plan Wasting scarce resources on ferries that nobody wants at one end and trying to stop a runaway mountainside at the other end is just a reflection of the lack of vision and vitality that so many want to see awakened in our sleeping nation.
    It is a sad fact that many have bought into this area because it is an out of the way backwater, but collectively we have to make this area attractive to the young and industrious who have the energy to get the area back on it’s feet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Murdoch MacKenzie April 1, 2016 2:57 am Reply
    • Murdoch, We need a road that doesn’t wreck peoples cars, we need a ferry that brings people here and is linked to tourism, all we’ve got is a crappy road and ferry service. I don’t think that is much of an endorsement for the SNP’s track record over all these years.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

      richard April 1, 2016 2:01 pm Reply
      • Richard,
        You have a ferry that nobody will use even at bankruptcy fares to the owners. You have a road that is stuck onto the middle of an unstable slope on a mountain.
        You need to have a transport link that lets people drive their own vehicles while free from hazard. People will only come to you if your infrastructure makes their journey enjoyable and they are in control of their own timetable.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        Murdoch MacKenzie April 1, 2016 3:30 pm Reply
        • Murdoch, none of that will ever happen with the SNP in power, they only care about the central belt, we might as well be part of N Ireland

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

          richard April 1, 2016 6:57 pm Reply
          • Richard,I don’t want to be the one to spoil your well earned weekend,but if I were you,don’t buy any newspapers next Sunday or watch TV news as the Scottish poll coming out will show the SNP at the highest level yet.The combined unionist party vote is down at 37%. Surely a concern to you. What are you doing wrong?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

            A.Salmon April 1, 2016 7:06 pm
          • A Salmon, that will not concern me in the slightest anymore than the idea of a 2nd independence referendum, bring it on so we can settle the issues, as for another 5 years of SNP rule it will be the longest and last that they are in power, it’s only when the tax hikes and broken promises start to hurt that the electorate will wake up.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

            Richard April 1, 2016 8:09 pm
  • I have just read that the UK Government gave aid to India to the tune of £250m and that they launched an unmanded spaceship ready to put a man on the moon which coincidently cost £250m! !! Instead of giving away money we borrow to live on maybe it would have been better diverted to sorting out the rest. Oh forgot, that is in Scotland and the UK Government are hell bent on helping everyone else but home grown projects

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    mike April 1, 2016 1:04 pm Reply
    • Many have been saying that but I suppose someone has to pay for their space programme, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and missiles …….

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      Lundavra April 1, 2016 1:25 pm Reply
  • Foreign aid from the entire UK, yes’ Scotland included… is a joke… simply a way of oiling the wheels of commerce, and little to do with helping folk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

    Karl Hughes April 1, 2016 3:57 pm Reply
  • Explain and prove that sweeping statement,young man.
    I say young man as I reckon you have adolescent rage!
    Am I correct or do you wish to debate with facts at hand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    A.Salmon April 1, 2016 5:46 pm Reply
  • I thankfully don’t require to use ferries,except maybe the Port Appin to Lismore.
    Scotland is amply supplied with transport,to amply supplied if you ask me.
    I have an educated solution to the apparent problem.Install tolls just North of Glasgow and while we are at it,decline planning permission for these god awful Aldi stores. That will decrease the riffraff from coming North of England as we will price them out.
    The roads will all be pristine and no need for ferries as we all have powerful fast RIBs to get us to any Island to feed livestock.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    R.B Stoker April 1, 2016 7:24 pm Reply
    • Even better, instigate land clearance in uneconomic zones and ‘encourage’ people to emigrate – that sort of visionary action could be a tremendously effective way of balancing the national books without resorting to silly stuff like threatening the all-conquering rise of our friends Amazon & co by the outrageous insistence that they pay their taxes.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Robert Wakeham April 2, 2016 9:27 am Reply
  • Would someone stand up for good old England on this thread.You cannot allow the nationalist rabble dictate our Country.
    Get a backbone now!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    R.B Stoker April 3, 2016 6:00 pm Reply
  • Basically The ferry timings are not good enough

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Stephen July 20, 2016 11:36 am Reply
  • Is the current vessel in use reliable?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Ivie McCaig August 23, 2016 10:45 am Reply

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