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.
Recent comments by newsroom
- Is David MacBrayne’s Solent enterprise the signal for the end of Calmac?
Of course we’re delighted for them – and this will be the enormous fun of a real challenge.
But because this is not an obvious move – since DML is not a commercial company in any real sense; and because it is a contract where neither DML nor CalMac have much, if any, current expertise, they will have to gear up to do it.
So we’re looking for the hidden agenda.
There are curious and interesting implications for the financing of this enterprise; and for their owner, the Scottish Government.
It’s intriguing – a major surprise development – itself fun – and we will be surprised if our speculative interpretation is finally that far off the mark.
- Weak, nervous and unsearching: Audit Scotland report into Argyll and Bute Council ADP procurement
Both Michael Russell and Jackie Baillie responded immediately after the publication of the Audit Scotland report and For Argyll published their responses at once.
- Housing Services issues: specific failures of Audit Scotland report on Argyll and Bute Council ADP procurement
What you envisage is in fact the stated practice of a senior council officer who has said to one potential litigant [not in connection with this case because of course the third sector groups could never afford the processes of justice]: ‘We have deeper pockets than you do and we can just continue to appeal. We’ll see you bankrupt’.
As you say, those ‘deeper pockets’ are filled with public money – our money.
- Professor James Hunter on land reform in Scotland
Land reform – however this version works out – can make little measureable difference to the Scottish economy; nor will it make a substantial measureable difference to the outward migration of the rural young.
Creating a Scottish container port and freeport – and in the Clyde – however, would be a massive injection of growth.
The economic case for HS2 is not particularly persuasive, even on its approved route. Frequent shuttle flights from London City Airport would make more sense.
- Professor James Hunter on land reform in Scotland
So how do you see the new land reform initiatives working out in Argyll to achieve the sort of impact you envision?
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