No early starts for Sunday travellers

A request for an earlier ferry service on Sundays between Gourock and Kilcreggan has been rejected.

And an experimental early morning bus service on Sundays between Helensburgh and Coulport has been axed, with fewer than four passengers a day using it.

Both decisions were made last week by the operations committee of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), when elected members followed officials’ recommendations.

A 10am ferry sailing had been suggested by Argyll and Bute Councillor Maurice Corry, after Harry Cathcart of the ferry user group said low passenger numbers for the Sunday service – which had led to a ‘use it or lose it’ threat – were partly because the timetable was too restrictive.

Argyll and Bute’s SPT representatice Robert Macintyre had been confident before the meeting, but officials said no action should be taken the subsidy cost per passenger was already above guideline criteria.

The additional bus service, leaving Coulport at 8.05am rather than the previous earliest service of 11.05, was run for a six month trial period by Garelochhead Coaches starting on December 9 2012, again after a request by Cllr Corry.

A report to last week’s meeting stated: “Analysis of this additional journey indicates low usage, and the subsequent subsidy cost per passenger journey of £21.20, well in excess of SPT Guideline Criteria.

It was agreed to withdraw the service with effect from August 20 (last Sunday) , saving £75 per week.


  1. Just confirms that SPT only know how to count beans and have no clue about what a service actually is – sooner our lifeline ferry service is removed from them the better.

  2. How long were these extra Sunday services offered? And with how much publicity? It takes ages for people to notcie and incorporate these changes in their lives. The ferry service has been so messed around with in the past few years, and has had the minimum of positive publicity (as opposed to H. Advertiser reports about the dire straits that the ferry is in, that it’s no wonder so many people ignore/don’t trust the ferry.

    • Falloch: Sorry if the story wasn’t clear; the extra ferry run was never actually introduced – SPT were asked to try it in response to their comments about the Sunday service being at risk because of low usage. In my opinion one of the saddest things about the ferry and its declining use in recent times is the complete lack of any apparent willingness to entertain new options for timetables etc which might encourage additional passengers, and this is just another example. The extra bus service was tried, but with very little publicity indeed, as can be seen by looking at timetables or doing a Google search, let alone a press release or paid advertisement.
      On a more cheerful note – did you see the response to your question about the corn from the flower show?

  3. Sorry not to have gotten the ferry story straight. I was on the ferry yesterday and talking with the skipper before setting off. (Sorry, don’t know his name.) I was telling him how I miss the K’creg-H’burgh ferry and said that as far as I understood the year that the H’burgh ferry survey was made was the year that the Gourock pool was closed for renovation, which thus would’ve brought the numbers down. is this correct? Anyway, he seemed very surprised, and we also talked about the incredible rise in cruise liners arriving in Greenock over the past couple of years. he said it’s crazy – the buses line up in queues and ’52-packs’ of people are bundled off to Glasgow, Edin., the Trossachs, even St Andrews, when there’s amazing stuff right around here. Surely someone in Visit Scotland, or SPT or somewhere could have the nous to put together at least a summer ferry service that would include H’burgh and other stops.

    And yes, thx for the info on the corn on the cob! 🙂

    • I think it is correct; SPT is a transport prevention service as far as the peninsula is concerned. They couldn’t innovate their way out of a paper bag.

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