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You are falling into newsrooms simplistic trap of …

Comment posted Research reveals shock insights into reality of Dunoon ferry service provision by ferryman.

You are falling into newsrooms simplistic trap of looking at averages and capacity. If a lot of people use the service for work then you cannot average things out. Even tourist traffic has to be looked at in terms of peaks.

The same applies to weather cancellations. You might look at cancellations and say on average that does not look too bad, but weather does not work like that. Bad weather cancels multiple consecutive sailings, which is a disaster if you are traveling.

Take as an example June where 80 odd sailings canceled. On average over the month it does not sound too bad. However they were due to weather so they all happened over the space of a few days. If they were spread out on average you would miss one boat and get the next, but they are not so there is no next boat and you do not get to work.

ferryman also commented

  • That is pretty much as I thought, so a record was kept of the total number of passengers, but no record of how many were on foot and how many were in vehicles. This means that any statistics showing foot passengers only are a guestimate of some kind.
  • I believe CalMac did at one time offer discounts to regular commercial users to try to increase usage and profits on the already profitable vehicle portion of its service. My understanding is that WF somehow managed to stop that – can’t have competition.

    It would be good to know what WF’s current rates are for commercial vehicles particularly HGVs.

  • Trigger: what have you done!!! RW will start prattling on about gangways again.

    You have made an interesting comment though. The number of passengers on a ferry have to be accounted for. Strictly speaking it should not set sail until the master knows how many are aboard as he has to stay within the limits of his passenger certificate.

    Some statistics have been quoting foot passengers only (i.e. less those in vehicles) , but how did they get those figures particularly if they were passing bus passengers up the gangway?

    It sounds like the foot passenger only statistics must be some kind of guestimate rather than an actual record of usage.

  • No, Caimbeul said Western charged £110, but CalMac (Cowal ferries) quoted £78. So WF were £32 or 41% more expensive.

    The CalMac price sounds a lot more reasonable for a van, and the vehicle portion of the service was still turning a profit.

    No doubt WF could charge a premium because of the poor timetable CalMac were forced to operate, commercial traffic cannot hang about (drivers to pay, goods to deliver). Now of course there is no competition at all.

  • Prices will be even higher now.

    I have just got a commercial quote for a van, return, Dover Calais with DFDS for £240 inc. VAT which I make £204 excluding VAT.

    The crossing is 90 minutes which is six time longer than WF.
    So the DFDS equivalent of the WF crossing is £34 (£204/6).
    In other words the WF crossing is over 3 times the cost of the DFDS crossing (£110/£34), based on time. The DFDS ships all have a cruising speed above 20knots, so in terms of distance the WF rate is even worse. On top of that DFDS has all sorts of facilities making the crossing more comfortable and so even better value.

    It would be interesting to know what the current WF fares are particularly for HGVs.

    We need competition on this route. High fares will feed through to all goods and services and also prevent the Firth of Clyde being used when the A83 is blocked.

Recent comments by ferryman

  • Responses to Scottish Government’s Information Day on potential Gourock-Dunoon ferry service
    As usual newsroom bends things by quoting the MVA report as saying the vehicle service ‘could be feasible’.

    In fact the reports states; “This study has therefore demonstrated that, given the assumptions made and analysis
    undertaken here,a passenger and vehicle ferry service IS feasible.”
    [ see section 9.1.10 ]

    I am not surprised that Serco are interested in what is Scotland’s busiest vehicle ferry route particularly when the competition turns such a massive profit margin from poorly located ports.

    If Serco have wider ambitions for ferries in Scotland, as it seems they do, then Dunoon Gourock would make sense.

  • Scottish Government moves on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services provision
    “A lifeline ferry service is required in order for a community to be viable.”

    So Dunoon is lifeline then – good.

  • Scottish Government moves on Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Services provision
    Newsroom says that Dunoon Gourock is “not a lifeline service”.

    I think Dunoon Gourock is an essential lifeline service but obviously Soapbox aka Newsroom does not.

    So where is the definition of “lifeline” so that we can decide who is correct?

    The answer is that there is no definition – Transport Scotland shall decide, route by route, to whom that applies.

    As to contractual terms, look at Dunoon Gourock, anybody can run anything there is absolutely no contractual need for the service to be reliable. So if your route is goung to be tendered in this way you are totally unprotected.

    Of course Dunoon Gourock is only a piddling little route – well no, according to the Scottish Government it is the most important Scottish route for vehicle transport and significant even on European terms, but that of course is not enough to make it lifeline in Newsroom’s eyes.

  • So what will Transport Scotland talk to Brussels about on Dunoon-Gourock ferry?
    Read the report.

    The taxpayer and the people of Dunoon/Cowal can have a passenger only service and pay a subsidy for it.

    Alternatively they can pay the same subsidy and get a passenger and vehicle service.

    Of course if they choose the vehicle service then the subsidy is paid back via berthing fees both to the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council – in other words to the public purse it is for practical purposes free (which the passenger only service is not). Not only that but the operator of the vehicle service makes a larger profit.

    All of which in a Scottish Government produced report meets all EC requirements.

  • Lairds powering on to get Western’s boats completed
    So they are not actually as promised going to be in service for the games this year?

    If they were in service what would the additional car carrying capacity and people carrying capacity per hour have been?

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