Com­mit­tee in­sists CalMac ex­plains

The Oban Times - - Letters -

Copy of let­ter to Martin Dorch­ester, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, CalMac Dear Mr Dorch­ester, We, Mull and Iona Ferry Com­mit­tee on be­half of an in­creas­ingly dis­grun­tled lo­cal com­mu­nity, need an ur­gent ex­pla­na­tion for the col­lapse of ser­vice re­li­a­bil­ity on the Oban to Craignure ser­vice.

Through the 12-year pe­riod be­tween 1999 and 2010, al­though the num­ber grad­u­ally in­creased, the av­er­age num­ber of cancellations was a mod­est 16.7 each year. In the win­ter of 2013/14 there were 62 cancellations and in 2014/15 there was a mas­sive 160 cancellations due to bad weather. This is a 10-fold in­crease in the can­cel­la­tion rate.

It seems the ser­vice sta­tus is placed on ‘am­ber’, when weather con­di­tions are far from ex­treme.

On our com­mit­tee we have nu­mer­ous ex­pe­ri­enced com­mer­cial boat oper­a­tors, all fa­mil­iar with the lo­cal con­di­tions. They are of­ten left in­cred­u­lous at the mod­er­ate weather con­di­tions that re­sult in am­ber warn­ings and cancellations. Not only are the cancellations a huge eco­nomic and so­cial prob­lem for is­lan­ders, but the per­sis­tent ‘am­ber warn­ing’ that hangs over the ser­vice is a huge dis­in­cen­tive to the vis­i­tors on which our econ­omy re­lies.

It is not ten­able to blame de­te­ri­o­rat­ing weather – no such de­cline has been noted on other ser­vices out­side the CalMac net­work. Nei­ther is the ferry in­ca­pable – the MV Isle of Mull has plied the route from 1988 and has un­til very re­cently had a good re­li­a­bil­ity record.

Per­haps it is sim­ply too much trou­ble to use the an­chor to as­sist with get­ting on and off the pier?

In­stead, one has to ask if a cul­ture of timid­ity has taken hold in CalMac, en­cour­aged ei­ther ex­plic­itly or tac­itly by man­age­ment that would rather have a boat tied up than do­ing its job serv­ing the is­lands.

We in­sist on an ex­pla­na­tion from CalMac man­age­ment as to why they can­not run the ser­vice they are

con­tracted to pro­vide dur­ing win­ter months. The cur­rent state of affairs is no longer ac­cept­able.

Neal Gold­smith, chair­man, Mull and Iona Ferry Com­mit­tee.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.