New campaign to support ferry as lifeline service

New calls for action to support the Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service have been made, following days of chaos and confusion on the route.

Gourock man Jamie Black is asking politicians to back the ferry as a lifeline service, asking three key questions:

  • Do you agree that the Kilcreggan/Gourock Ferry service is lifeline for those who use it?
  • Do you support the continued operation of this service and use of public money to support the route and the communities it serves?
  • If you support the route, what action can and will you take to help safeguard its long term future?

Mr Black, a member of Cardwell Bay and Greenock West Community Council, intervened after lapsed certification and an apparent breakdown saw the service either limited to 12 passengers or cancelled completely last week, with angry passengers left stranded and without any information.

The service has been running to timetable since Saturday, but fears remain over its future.

Mr Black said: “The impact on my family alone of losing this ferry service would be life-changing, never mind other people who rely on it to visit hospitals, shops and other essential services.

“I believe the future of this route is of the utmost importance to the people who use it – its loss would alter their way of life and have a significant negative effect on the people and communities in the surrounding area.”

One Kilcreggan man travelled back from Edinburgh on Wednesday, getting all the way to Gourock only to find the ferry was cancelled despite the sea being ‘like a millpond’.

He then had to take trains to Glasgow and Helensburgh, followed by a bus to Kilcreggan – a total extra journey of two and a half hours.

Mr Black has so far received responses from MSPs Jackie Baillie and Stuart McMillan and Inverclyde Councillors David Wilson and Ronnie Ahfield.

Ms Baillie, whose Dumbarton constituency includes the Rosneath Peninsula, said she would contact SPT, adding: “You can absolutely count on my support for the continuation of the service.

“I do believe it represents a lifeline service for my constituents, not least to provide access hospital services but also to the college and to employment.”

Cllr Wilson represents Inverclyde on Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which funds the service; 18 months ago he said ‘a decade of decline’ on the ferry service had ended.

On Saturday he wrote: “I can assure you that Councillor MacIntyre from Argyll and myself will fight to maintain the service which incidentally is under no current threat.

“SPT senior officers are displeased with this week’s interruptions.

“The ship is now certificated. I attended at 6.30 on Thursday to witness only 12 passengers being allowed per trip. Not good.”

Cllr Robert MacIntyre has previously said that a lifeline service would have fewer sailings – although the number of sailings has already been cut while Clydelink have been operating on the route.

Mr McMillan, a list MSP for the West of Scotland, has also written to SPT  about the issue – Letter to SPT – Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service – 16th March 15 – and said: “I do support public funds being used to support the service. I also agree that Best Value should always be sought. For many, Best Value has been confused with being ‘the cheapest’. This is not the case.”

The full text of Mr Black’s appeal and the responses to it so far can be found here.

Emails sent to thelochsidepress@gmail.com will be forwarded to Mr Black.

3 Comments

  1. What price a triangular service including Dunoon to start when the current contract runs out in two years?
    Oh and well done to Mr McMillan for managing to have constituents without him having a constituency! Quite an achievement, that.

    • Faster vessels and permission to travel faster than the to-date inflexible Clydeport speed limit of 12 knots would be needed order to do that effectively. It has been considered before though, in a study paid for by Scottish Enterprise 15 years ago.

      thelochsidepress.com/2013/03/11/fast-forward-a-ferries-option-that-would-halve-journey-times/

      • As someone who has in the past spent many hours in correspondance with SPT, MSP’s, The Ombudsman & the Minister for Transport all to no avail, I commend Jamie Black for bringing up the problems of our ferry service once again. A recent visit of relatives told of troubles they had in the village where they live which individuals writing to the authorities had made no difference whatsoever. A committee was formed and they decided to raise a petition, it went ‘on line’ and they eventually got a result. Perhaps that is the way forward, but I am ‘too long in the tooth’ to take on such a thing – over to you Jamie!

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