Comment posted Western Ferries signs contract with Cammell Laird for new Dunoon-Gourock ferries by Robert Wakeham.
There seems to be a political sickness on the lower Clyde that is responsible for a lot more than just the Dunoon – Gourock ferry saga.
The very poor performance of the SPTE is one symptom, and the apparent muddle over how to organise publicly funded ferry services, with the Scottish and European authorities trying to navigate their way through a legislative minefield is another symptom. Fragmented responsibility for landing facilities just adds to the problem, as does the apparent inability to provide easy transfer between passenger rail and ferry services at Gourock. Will all this ever be resolved unless there’s a really effective passenger transport authority for the area? Who else but the Holyrood government can take the initiative (and show that they really can govern)?
Robert Wakeham also commented
- Not arrogance – just astonishment that you’d wish to defend such a poor arrangement, and I wonder if the boarding system for the current ferries is any easier? ‘Struggling’ could well be right.
- Ferryman: If you think that my criticism of the boarding arrangements to the streaker service is ‘some kind of fetish’ you’ve no real idea of what a decent passenger ferry should be like. You’re right that I wasn’t a regular user of the service, and for that I’m very thankful. If you were – as a passenger – it beggars belief that you’re so ignorant of just how bad the boarding facilities were by any reasonable current-day standards.
- Calmac was shackled by having primitive boats, from a passenger point of view – and although the cafe was a nice feature (but not really necessary for such a short run, while undoubtedly helping to make the passenger service uneconomic) the boarding arrangements were astonishingly bad, compounded by a steep exposed stair down from the upper deck to the lounge. I wasn’t a regular user of this service, and it seemed to me that the boats – however seaworthy – were nowhere near the quality of what passengers could reasonably expect. (and don’t get me started on the dismal facilities at Gourock for passengers transferring between boat and train)
- Ferryman, I think that there very clearly is a ‘minefield of legislation’. The sheer laboriousness and cost (in money, time, and damage to the ongoing provision of fit for purpose ferry links) of the processes involved by the Holyrood governments over recent years in their attempts to reconcile the operation of the publicly owned and managed ferry system with European competition rules point to this. There’s a risk of being so fixated on the Dunoon – Gourock saga, which has been hamstrung by the historic failure of the traditional route to change to match demand, that the bigger picture is being missed. You don’t mention SPT; count yourself fortunate if you don’t live on the Rosneath peninsula, and if you look further afield there are clearly huge potential disadvantages in ‘balkanising’ the Calmac routes, whatever the advantages of introducing private initiative – and ‘cherrypicking’ remains another obvious problem.
- Ferryman, why didn’t you address this in the ‘other post’? Changing the subject is not replying to DunoonLad’s comment.
Recent comments by Robert Wakeham
- West Argyll’s forest trails to re-open by Christmas
There’s one Knapdale trail that doesn’t seem to be recognised by the Forestry Commission – the historic route from Dunardry (Cairnbaan) over the hills to Barnagad and Kilmichael of Inverlussa (Achnamara) – this was the old trail to Castle Sween and the settlement of Kilmory Knap, and was protected when the Forestry Commission planted Knapdale, but has been suffering from uncleared windblow for more than a year now.
The historic nature of this route, the care that was taken to keep it clear when the forest was planted (except where a parallel forest road on an easier route was built at the east end) and the fact that it would appear to be a right of way makes the inability to clear around half a dozen trees (maybe more now) difficult to understand.
Obviously it’s not a forestry haul road, but the fallen trees now blocking it will eventually render an attractive part of our heritage lost.
I’m really surprised that FC Scotland doesn’t seem to care about this, as they safeguard their own roads, the walking trails they’ve developed, and – increasingly – the archaeological sites that were originally planted over.
- SRSN Chair raises issue of Argyll evidence with Holyrood Education Committee
There’s a really serious problem for the whole country – not just Argyll & Bute – if Audit Scotland is sweeping such gross maladministration ‘under the tartan carpet’.
- Mandela an exemplar for redemptive spiritual largeness
It’s developed into a Sunni/Shia conflict, Karl, but it didn’t start that way – and the underlying motivation of Bashar & co is surely exactly the same as that of the white regime in South Africa – a no-holds barred fight to retain their power & privilege.
- Tavish Scott attacks Scottish Government on unconsulted fare hike on Serco Northlink ferries
No need to get antsy, it obviously doesn’t matter which country, does it? – the tax revenue goes, via both the Shetlands council and the UK treasury, to the benefit of both the Shetlands and the rest of the UK, or if Scotland becomes independent, presumably just to the benefit of Scotland.
Now that’s been clarified, perhaps you’d like to give your opinion on my question of whether the Shetlands’ revenue-raising function would justify keeping the ferry fares from escalating. I think it does – and the same argument could be applied to Islay, though it’s not as remote.
- Mandela an exemplar for redemptive spiritual largeness
Yes, Karl, his policy of peaceful protest eventually rattled the authorities to such a degree that the Sharpeville massacre tipped the balance, Mandela reluctantly decided that violence was the only option left, this eventually led to his final trial, and imprisonment, and I’m sure you know the rest – I don’t know about equality, but it brought democracy – and, hopefully, the potential for equality.
At least it’s a more hopeful story than Syria, where peaceful protest immediately led to a degree of sustained government savagery that rapidly sucked in the religious nutters from outside the country, who’ve been matching the government’s atrocities and polarised the fight into a catalogue of horrors.
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