Comment posted Research reveals shock insights into reality of Dunoon ferry service provision by newsroom.
The Scottish Government cannot instruct Argyll Ferries to replace a passenger ferry with a vehicle ferry within the term of the current contract – unless – directly or indirectly, it assists them to do so.
Were this to happen, it is unimaginable that this would survive the challenge under competition law that would inevitably follow from the other bidders for this contract.
All bidders in the original tender for the current contract operated by Argyll Ferries, were invited to submit a proposal to deliver the passenger service in a vehicle and passenger ferry.
In this instance, every penny of the costs associated with the delivery of a vehicle service would have to be accounted separately from the passenger costs, which are legally subsidised.
Not one bidder submitted such a proposal – because the vehicle service between the town centres of Gourock and Dunoon cannot be competitive and is not financially viable.
No politician can wave a wand and change this fact.
Me Neil, as with any politician is skilled in using phrases to deceive the unwary, such as ‘the Scottish Government is committed to…’- which means nothing; or ‘I would like to see…’ – which means the same.
What is going on is a surreal spectator sport where the government appears to be flailing around against the scenario they brought into being themselves by the decisions they took.
Presumably, they could either stop the current contract and transfer the financial penalty from one pubic sector pocket to another via the Argyll ferries books.
They could then retender the contract, specified differently – but this could not make a vehicle service between the Gourock and Dunoon town centres subsidisable; nor could it make it financially viable. What could a second outcome be?
Alternatively they could go ahead and indirectly assist Argyll Ferries to a vehicle and passenger ferry – and buy off the original competing bidders from issuing a challenge under competition law by giving them routes removed from the west coast portfolio operated by Calmac and ‘tendered’.
newsroom also commented
- You are logically adrift in this – and you actually support the position the facts demonstrate.
Nothing we have said in evidencing the massive capacity overprovisiom on this route has anything at all to do with whether empty ferries sail or not.
If you are correct that there are occasions when there is no reason to sail, it is actually further evidence that the capacity is way ahead of the demand – otherwise those services would sail.
- There are two issues here – neither operator publishes breakdown figures and one would need to see those and analyse them closely to distil the usage patterns.
Peak time under supply may be likely which is why we’ve said the Scottish Government, if it retired public sector involvement, might tender a small filler service.
Then, major city transport cannot cope with full demand at peak time commuter times. You can’t get on a tube sometimes so you learn to start earlier.
There’s no reason why the massive overprovision on the Gourock Dunoon route might not be left to the market to resolve as it will.
Travel early or get in late. Taking that line would also spread use of capacity better.
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- Dead in the water: Oban transit marina
You are absolutely right. Oban was a fantastic fit for this project.
Rothesay has pontoon berths in its inner harbour which allow walk ashore straight into the town.
But this facility it is not well kept and looks grubby and down at heel – and the centre of Rothesay itself is the same or worse.
Even though Oban is shabby now, lacking investment in maintenance by too many commercial property owners, it remains a spectacular town where the opportunity to walk ashore would have become a word-of-mouth must-go-there in the sailing world in no time.
But – you can take a horse on an eight year tutorial but you can’t make it think.
- Dead in the water: Oban transit marina
An accurate if depressing analysis.
A lot of leisure sailor also do not own their own boats but charter them for cruising holidays.
Family sailing holidays are a substantial part of activity in this sector – so the spectrum of visitors who would have used the transit marina that might have been, would not have been narrow.
The fundamental message that councillors and officers have been unwilling to grasp – because it inconvenienced a clear and standing intention to down this long suffering project, which is at least now put of its misery – is that leisure sailors are a captive audience.
Sailing is camping at sea – all necessities onboard – although, from fuel to food, needing regular resupplying – but no frills.
Eating out is a delight – and no washing up to be done in a standup galley. Banter in a pub is a change of scene. Using your legs is welcome in walking around, browsing and exploring locally.
Almost all of this involves local spending, on a daily basis; and this audience is there to spend. They’re on holiday.
The minority of sailors who are well off are mature, often retired – with a lifetime of work behind them to earn what they have.
Some folk own caravans and motorhomes to explore on land, Those who love the water have boats for the same purpose – and the boats often cost a lot less than the motorhomes; but, on some senselessly classist two-way autocue, motorhomes are branded downmarket and boats as toffpots.
Will Oban get £1million a year from cruise ship passengers?
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