Lessons can be learned

The Arran Banner - - Letters -

Sir, Af­ter read­ing your cov­er­age of the pro­posed re­de­ploy­ment of the MV Isle of Ar­ran to tem­po­rar­ily cover the Is­lay route, I would like to re­in­force our ef­forts to pro­vide clar­ity and con­fir­ma­tion of what our plans were dur­ing this pe­riod.

Hav­ing to with­draw the MV He­bridean Isles from the Is­lay route caused se­ri­ous ca­pac­ity is­sues for the is­land. We had to work hard to re­de­ploy thou­sands of pas­sen­gers booked on the ser­vice, no easy task. To man­age the sit­u­a­tion we took a num­ber of steps in­clud­ing the char­ter­ing of a freight ves­sel to carry cars and mov­ing the MV Fin­lag­gan on to 24-hour op­er­a­tions.

How­ever, we felt there was still go­ing to be se­ri­ous ca­pac­ity is­sues on the route dur­ing one of the is­land’s busiest pe­ri­ods of the year, the Is­lay Show week.

To pro­vide ad­di­tional cover, plans were started to re­de­ploy the MV Isle of Ar­ran in the event of the MV He­bridean Isles still be­ing out of ser­vice dur­ing this pe­riod. While ac­knowl­edg­ing this would cause dis­rup­tion to the com­mu­ni­ties of Ar­ran, the is­land’s ferry com­mit­tee agreed this was a nec­es­sary move in the cir­cum­stances.

I can as­sure cus­tomers that we in­formed them as soon as a fi­nal de­ci­sion was made to move the MV Isle of Ar­ran. This was an­nounced on the Fri­day with the ves­sel due to move to the Is­lay route on the Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day of the fol­low­ing week.

Book­ings were closed ear­lier than this to al­low us to man­age traf­fic and pas­sen­ger de­mand, but we could not in­form cus­tomers that the ves­sel was def­i­nitely mov­ing be­cause this de­ci­sion had not been taken at this time. We could not con­firm the de­ci­sion to move the ves­sel any sooner than we did.

In the event, re­pairs to the MV He­bridean Isles were com­pleted and the re­de­ploy­ment of the MV Isle of Ar­ran was not re­quired.

Rede­ploy­ing ves­sels is never a easy task. It takes time and plan­ning, some­times for even­tu­al­i­ties that never hap­pen, as in this case. We felt that telling cus­tomers the ves­sel was mov­ing be­fore we had ex­plored all op­tions would add noth­ing to their abil­ity to base their travel plans on ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion.

We are con­tin­u­ally striv­ing to im­prove how we com­mu­ni­cate with cus­tomers. This was a ex­tra­or­di­nary set of cir­cum­stances that we had to try and man­age as best we could within the lim­ited fleet re­source we have avail­able. We will, as al­ways, be look­ing at what lessons can be learned for the fu­ture to im­prove the way we com­mu­ni­cate our de­ci­sions with cus­tomers.


Si­mon Richmond Area Man­ager (South) Cale­do­nian MacBrayne

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