MSP Jackie Baillie is once again calling on SPT to take tough action over Clydelink’s handling of the Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service.
A Freedom of Information request, lodged by Kilcreggan resident Harry Cathcart, has found that Clydelink, who operate the passenger service on behalf of SPT, has been fined over £2,500, mainly for issues surrounding returns of numbers etc, since taking over the tender in April 2012.
SPT has also issued Clydelink with eight penalty points following an inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which identified several failings with the day-to-day running of the service.
These included discrepancies in the accreditation of the ferry’s skipper.
Passengers have contacted Ms Baillie and Councillor George Freeman on numerous occasions regarding the reliability of the service, with many passengers being forced to use a replacement bus service last summer adding more than 90 minutes on to their travelling time in some instances.
Last week some passengers reported that they were unable to enter the cabin of the Island Princess’ replacement vessel, the Cailin Oir, because it was full.
As a result some passengers were forced to travel the route on the outer deck in freezing conditions.
Jackie Baillie said: “I am astonished that SPT have allowed this fiasco to continue this long without any real sign of substantial action.
“It is unacceptable to think that passengers are being asked to travel across the River Clyde in freezing conditions without access to a cabin.
“This is a lifeline route for many people, yet Clydelink continually fail to deliver a reliable service for passengers.
“The Island Princess was sent for repair over four months ago, with no sign of its return. It is time SPT took tough action and ensured that customers receive the service they deserve.”
Local ferry user, Harry Cathcart added: “Allowing for all of the upheaval which badly affected passengers using this vital economic lifeline into the summer and using a non compliant back up vessel under the contract conditions for now four months, it is perverse that SPT have been so generous in issuing the penalty points.”
The penalty points system is covered in SPT’s contract for the route here Attachment 3 – Conditions of Contract (Ferry)