MSPs and councillors have been urged to back moves for Transport Scotland to take over the Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service.
The formal request for support and assistance comes from Cardwell Bay and Greenock West Community Council, which wrote to the Scottish Government about the matter earlier this year.
In response, ferries contract manager Paul Linhart-MacAskill, writing on behalf of deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, said the Scottish Government was ‘willing to discuss’ taking over the route from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport SPT), which currently subsidises the service.
The week the community council wrote to MSPs Duncan McNeil, Annabel Goldie, Jackie Baillie and Stuart McMillan, as well as several members of Inverclyde Council.
Inverclyde’s representative on SPT, David Wilson, is attacked for issuing a ‘use it or lose it’ warning about the Sunday ferry service, and the councillors say the status quo is not acceptable:
“As you will doubtless be aware, this route is suffering terribly from a poor service coupled with lack of marketing and poor timetabling.
“The result is that not only do the peoples of Inverclyde and Argyll & Bute suffer from an inherently unreliable ferry service, but are very much at risk of further ferry service degradation, something recently demonstrated by Cllr Wilson who has stated ‘use it or lose it’, a rather misguided and ill advised recommendation, given recent history.
“This situation is wholly unsatisfactory, and the status quo is not acceptable. We have written to the Deputy First Minister with various suggestions, to which we received a positive response.
“The most important outcome from this communication is that Transport Scotland are prepared to discuss with SPT the possibility of taking over responsibility for the Kilcreggan Ferry. This is a move we agree with, and are seeking your support.
“We have contacted the Transport Minister to request that he instruct proceedings in this regard.
“We are contacting you to request that you support this move, and if possible, offer any support and guidance to ourselves or any relevant party. We realise that discussions are only one small step, but very important and your support will have a great influence.
“We hope this is a reasonable request and look forward to hearing from you.”
SPT awarded the contract for the ferry service to Clydelink last year, after the route had been served by Clyde Marine Motoring for decades; this summer though the contract for the Sunday service was given to Clyde Marine.
The Monday to Saturday contract which was awarded to Clydelink is due to run until 2017.
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