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Under the much talked about EU regulations Dunoon …

Comment posted Western Ferries signs contract with Cammell Laird for new Dunoon-Gourock ferries by ferryman.

Under the much talked about EU regulations Dunoon is the equivalent of an island.

There is certainly a role for private operators, I have used Western for many years, but not as a monopoly operators with no limit on profit.

Because of its geographic location Cowal and all the businesses in it are a cash cow for the ferry route.

ferryman also commented

  • If the choice is between ships that sail or bathtubs that don’t the answer is a no-brainer;
    I prefer a ship that sails.

    As to whether or not the new bathtubs are easier to use I’ll leave the decision on that to people with difficulties. For example the blind woman who took Alec Salmond to task on national radio over the problems she had using the unstable new service and that Michael Russell MSP would not reply to her emails.

  • To Robert Wakeman,

    Your arrogance on this subject is staggering. People are struggling to get to and from work, college and hosptial appointments and your regular contribution to this blog is that you did not like the boarding arrangements on the old service which you used once in a blue moon?

  • Please explain the minefield.
    Please explain the difficulties.
    The EU statement was clear simple and already being comlied with.

    As I said the problem was that the SNP did not deliver on their promise to supply vessels. Why they went back on their promise was never stated. Jim Mather has the decency to resign. Mike Russell hides behind “it was before my time”, Nobody has given a clear statemnt of why they did not deliver their promise. I am confident they cannot blame the EU.

    You also seem to have some kind of fetish about the boarding arrangements to the streaker service. How frequently did you use them?

    If I recall past post on this subject it certainly was not daily. So please defer to people who actually use the services and know something about them.

  • Several people, including Dunoonlad, routinely trot out the idea that people did not support the CalMac ferry service under a number of different topics. He did so again here.

    In my example one ferry company makes five times the profit of the other just because it sails 10 minutes earlier.

    In the case of CalMac they were shackled by having fewer sailings per hour and sailing for fewer hours per day. As you would anticipate they carried fewer vehicles, though probably more than could reasonably be expected from the timetable.

    The Government could easily have lifted the timetable restricitions whilst the old service was running. With an even playing field we would have seen the true popularaties of the two services.

    I have no doubt they would be broadly equal and, for some reason, it was not wished to make that apparent.

    Indeed it is not incoceivable that, unfettered, the already profitable vehicle portion might have generated sufficient revenue to mean no overall subsidy (even for passengers) was required.

  • There was and is no minefield of legislation. The SNP promised vehicle ferries, went back on their promise and have then tried to use the EU as a smokescreen;

    In 2009 the EU said the route had to be tendered, it said the vehicle portion should not be subsidised and that the vehicle and passenger portions should publish separate accounts. In the same report the EU showed that the vehicle portion had been running a profit since 2002. The report also made it clear that vessels could be supplied, provided they were offered on the same terms to all bidders.

    Following the report separate accouts began to be kept and these showed that the vehicle portion continued to be profitable – despite being hamstrung by a ridiculous timetable.

    The government tendered documents, when eventually produced, permitted a vehicle service to be offered. Though of course without the promised vessels this was doomed.

    Where is the legal minefield. Everything was already in place at the time of the tender apart from the promised vessels.

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 http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/files/documents/reports/j278759/j278759.pdf ]

    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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