SPT ‘taken for a ride’ over Kilcreggan ferry

Passengers and businesses hit by the recent problems with the Kilcreggan ferry have been urged to make formal complaints.

The troubled link with Gourock was the focus of a long discussion at Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council last night.

MSP Jackie Baillie was at the meeting and said she would be meeting senior officials at SPT in Glasgow tomorrow together with community council chairman Nick Davies.

She also has a meeting with transport minister Humza Yousaf planned to discuss the service, which is due to be transferred to the Scottish Government at an undefined date.

Celia MacAskill, a regular passenger on the ferry, said in recent weeks the service by Clydelink had been ‘absolutely shambolic’.

“It has been a nightmare, for somebody who relies so much on the ferry, but I’m not the only one I know with work, college and people trying to get to hospital,” she said.

“It’s the lack of communication from Clydelink  as to when it will run, they were posting at ten o’clock at night whether the ferry would be running in the morning, not giving anybody any opportunity to work out what they ere going to do the following day to get to work.”

Community councillor Christine Murdoch said she knew people who had missed hospital appointments because the ferry was cancelled at short notice, and she joined criticism of the replacement bus service, which ran far less frequently than previously, not leaving Kilcreggan until 8.40am.

She added: “I also think it is outrageous that Clydelink are blocking people who are putting factual comments on their Twitter feed.

“We hear about replacement bus services for train lines, but it’s usually going along the same route, there isn’t  a 50-mile detour!”

John Auld said: “I think we have reached a point where everyone is disgusted with the service that we are being provided with. The cost to the village far exceeds what SPT look to save.

“It has continued for many years and it has reached the point where it is unsustainable – to have a ferry that you can’t rely on means that you can’t use it.

“It has the potential to be a terrific bonus to the community and to the area but I do feel that we have been let down badly by SPT.”

Ms Baillie and the community council have campaigned for years to have the service transferred from SPT to the Scottish Government but this has now been delayed by a review of tendering policy.

She said SPT had been ‘taken for a ride’ by Clydelink and in recent weeks had heard about problems from the public and politicians rather than the operator.

She said that, as with the breakdowns of the Island Princess, the reduced bus service was a breach of the company’s contract.

“My office has been in touch with the ombudsman, what I would encourage is that if people have had an experience such as you have had and others in the community have had, then complain individually to SPT, take it through the process then as individuals go to the ombudsman., I will work with the community in coordinating that,” she said.

“People in the local community are saying that tourism has been impacted on and therefore their businesses have had a marked downturn in their takings – there may well be opportunities for compensation and I will raise that with SPT.


    • Jackie Baillie suggests that we get involved with the ombudsman. I went through that process a few years ago to no avail. The office of the ombudsman chose to accept what SPT said including the fact that aparently ‘the Island Princess was of a similar size to that of the Seabus!’ Also thanks to an act passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2010 they cannot look at contracts which are already in place.

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