Sailings cut under new timetable – UPDATED

A new timetable will mean 20% fewer sailings on weekdays between Gourock and Kilcreggan for the Island Princess from Monday (August 6).

The 07.50 sailing from Kilcreggan will now leave later, meaning there is no train connection in Gourock which will reach Glasgow before 9am – again, service has been relied on by commuters for many years.

The wholesale changes follow an instruction by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) that operators Clydelink should use four ropes to tie the ferry to piers, rather than two ropes as they have been doing since taking over the service on April 1.

This adds extra time to every sailing, meaning that on weekdays there will be only 12 sailings daily rather than 15; the new timetable is described as temporary but there is no indication from SPT or Clydelink of when or if it will be changed.

Clydelink undercut previous operators Clyde Marine by asking for an annual subsidy of £174,950; it was later announced that they would not need Kilcreggan’s 115 year-old pier to be manned. The subsidy was based on 15 sailings every weekday, as shown in the SPT tender documentation.

A statement by Clydelink last night (Friday) said: “Due to the implementation of revised berthing arrangements it has been necessary to agree a revised timetable with SPT from Monday August 6.

“We are required to implement these MCA berthing procedures immediately and therefore do apologise for the unavoidable short notice.”

According to the timetable published on Friday night, the last ferry on weekdays would have left Gourock five minutes earlier than previously – meaning passengers who work in Glasgow would have to catch a train which leaves Central Station at 17.05 rather than 17.25.

Then on Saturday afternoon Clydelink announced that the timetable had been changed again, with the last boat leaving Gourock at 1810, departing from Kilcreggan 1835 and arriving at Gourock at 1847.


  1. The vital commuter ferry for those travelling to Paisley/Glasgow to arrive before 09.00hours has also been moved from 07.48 to 07.56 missing the 08.08. No adjective can accurately describe my feelings but at least i will not regularly have to get up 40+minutes earlier to catch the first sailing

  2. Once again Clydelink have broken the terms of the ferry contract. When will sPT and Argyll & Bute waken up and stop messing up residents lives.

  3. Perhaps a better option would be, keep the Pier staff.

    This would make it quicker to tie up?

    A 20% reduction in subsidy would not be enough.

    Get this contract re tendered.

    The Saga continues.

    Monty Python would love this material?

  4. Nothing surprises me anymore, but this is the type of service erosion I predicted, and informed SPT of in January.

    I can actually understand why 4 lines are being demanded by MCA from Clydelink. On almost every sailing I have been on (always off-peak), the wheel house has been left unattended with the props engaged in forward. No-one was in control. Should a gust of wind caused the stern to swing, the boat could have gone anywhere (literally). 4 lines stop this massive risk happening on a daily basis.

    The first time it happened (when the Master had gone for his rolls) I highlighted it to Clydelink but seems to have gone unnoticed. This route is not a hard one to get right, with the correct expertise and observation of safety principals and guidelines.

    It sounds like MCA’s patience has run out (long after anyone else’s).

    • it is about time that SPT admit that they have erred badly and kick out clydelink and perhaps our rep on board when inspection is taking place namely deputy provost of Inverclyde take of his blindfold and get rid of this outfit who is using a substandard vessel.

  5. Ultimately, the more SPT ignore the issues, the less chance they will ever have of terminating the contract without risking a legal battle. Each time they ignore a contract breach , it plays into Clydelink’s hands. Complete shambles. How the SPT exectutive team have not been dismissed, I don’t understand. Even the Transport Minister says he can’t get involved – this means no-one holds SPT to account.

    And there folks is the reason for this disgrace continuing.

  6. The farce goes on; it smacks of nailing the deckchairs down on the Titanic because they keep slipping along the deck. The reason the vessel is not stable using a single securing point is that it is not suitable for the job. Why is it not suitable for the job? Because the tender was not specified properly. Why was the tender not specified properly? Because SPT couldn’t find its organisational backside with the aid of a map and both hands. ‘It’s to save money’, a whopping quarter of a million or so over 5 years; this is such a clever money saving wheeze that it will require several million pounds spent building a storm resistant pontoon landing stage at Kilcreggan and Gourock.

    The cynic or the conspiracy theorist might think they were deliberately driving away regular users so they could save the lot and look good on some annual moneysaving report; ‘Look how much we’re saving! Trebles all round!’, as they write in Private Eye. Why are these poltroons still drawing salaries?

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