Sunday ferries and pontoons idea still being floated

The battle to keep Kilcreggan’s Sunday ferry link with Gourock is still not over, a councillor said last night.

And funding for pontoons at the village’s pier might be available, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) member Robert MacIntyre told Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council.

The weekday service run by Clydelink has been much more heavily used than the Sunday service – although this week, with the Island Princess being replaced by the Cailin Oir to allow servicing work, some sailings have been cancelled because of engine trouble on Tuesday morning and weather conditions that afternoon and today (Wednesday).

An SPT committee including Cllr Macintyre voted unanimously last month to cut funding for the summer-only Sunday ferry service, saying that the subsidy was costing more than £20 per passenger.

Robert MacIntyre: 'Another avenue'
Robert MacIntyre: ‘Another avenue’

“I did try, but it was pointed out to me that every bus service in Scotland would be looking for the same subsidy,” he said last night.

“I’m not quite finished, I am still exploring another avenue.

“I’m trying for a three month contract rather than a six month contract.”

He said he might also ask Argyll and Bute Council to waive the pier dues on Sundays, and also mentioned the feasibility study for pontoons at Kilcreggan, Gourock and Dunoon piers, which was revealed on this website after a series of  Freedom of Information requests.

Cllr MacIntyre said that the council, which owns the pier, would not have funding for the work, but that SPT chief executive Gordon Maclennan had said: “If we can get a business plan for the work at the pier he would get the money.”

The study, dated June 2012 but kept secret for many months, says pontoons in Kilcreggan would cost £0.5m and £1.45m in Dunoon.

The Gourock pontoons would cost £1.14m – but the Kempock Street Bay site is said by the report to be unsuitable unless £3.5m extra is spent on building a breakwater, meaning it would not be cost-effective.

Cllr MacIntyre said the work at Kilcreggan would not go ahead unless Gourock pier owners CMAL did the same on the other side of the Clyde, and Cllr George Freeman said: “That report has been kicking around for a couple of years and I wouldn’t be holding my breath.”

Community council chairman Nick Davies said that local people had to support the ferry, adding: “I would like to thank Robert for the work he continues to do.”

He added that he had contacted CMAL about the ‘Kilcreggan steps’ at Gourock.

“Their condition remains of concern and under review but they are OK at the moment,” he said.

“CMAL say there will be alternative plans by the summer of this year if the steps are rendered unserviceable.”

At the end of last night’s meeting Cllr MacIntyre said he had been misquoted by this website’s story about his comments about concessionary fares at the November community council meeting, submitting a letter (right) in support ophoto-15f that position.

Click on the image of the letter to enlarge it.

All of the comments attributed to Cllr MacIntyre in that story were made by him at the meeting concerned and taken down in shorthand.


  1. In the unlikely event of SPT going ahead with this really bad idea it will be an unmitigated disaster; spending £3+m to achieve a minimal improvement in service and create pontoons that are practically guaranteed to be damaged by storms every winter would be impressive even by SPT standards.

  2. So, in case I’m missing something – they cannot justify spending £16k for a Sunday summer service, but are willing to make a £3m capital investment for pontoons? Nearly 200 years of Sunday ferries that would be! Or a whole new, custom built boat that could be the envy of Dunoon with some spare change too….radical? Not really, but you would think so the way this mob carry on

    • You couldn’t make it up; not only that, they spent £20+k to find this out. I could have told them it was a bad idea for free.

  3. Pontoons could never work at Kilcreggan – the high and low tides are just too extreme. Why are people still talking about this idea? It was never anything more than a distraction, and I agree it wouldn’t get planning permission. The Sunday ferry was killed off by a useless timetable and the fact that tickets weren’t transferable. Whose fault were those things.
    The councillor seems to think he was misquoted – but not about the bit in a previous story where he effectively said the Sunday ferry was safe????
    I don’t think we can believe anything he says any more.

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