Timetable talks prompt de­bate

The Oban Times - - The Oban Times & West Highland Times -

A FERRY op­er­a­tor’s ap­peal for views on next year’s timetable is be­ing seen by some as an ef­fort to avoid ‘another fi­asco’.

CalMac con­tacted trans­port fo­rums and other groups on July 12 ask­ing mem­bers to take part in a con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod be­fore de­cid­ing on a timetable for sum­mer 2017.

To en­sure a con­sen­sus view, groups were asked to sub­mit a sin­gle re­sponse voic­ing the over­all opinion of that body be­fore July 25.

In an email, CalMac wrote: ‘We would be grate­ful if you could con­sult with your mem­bers and ad­vise of the as­pi­ra­tions for the forth­com­ing sum­mer 2017 sea­son. Please note that un­less there is a com­pelling rea­son the time- ta­ble will re­main as per sum­mer 2016.’ A CalMac spokesman told The Oban

Times: ‘Com­ments will be col­lated and passed on to Trans­port Scot­land al­low­ing them to make a full and con­sid­ered de­ci­sion on fi­nal timetable ar­range­ments for next sum­mer.’

The cor­re­spon­dence fol­lows months of un­cer­tainty re­gard­ing the fate of MV

Coruisk af­ter it was moved from the Mal­laig to Ar­m­dale route to serve Mull.

Rob Ware, Sleat Trans­port Forum sec­re­tary, still wants to know why that de­ci­sion was made and re­mains un­con­vinced by CalMac’s at­tempts to reach out.

He said: ‘ To be con­tacted by CalMac and given such a short time as a sup­posed con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod gives the im­pres­sion CalMac wants to act like those who don’t get in touch be­fore the dead­line are happy with the sit­u­a­tion, which is ob­vi­ously not the case. What it is re­ally do­ing is try­ing to avoid another fi­asco like this year.’

He added: ‘The big­gest worry is what hap­pens next year. I have al­ready heard of one com­pany which has said it will be can­celling its pack­age next year. They said they might run a few tours but not to the same ex­tent as this year be­cause the ser­vice was just too un­re­li­able and the can­cel­la­tions cost them dearly.

‘That is just one of, I’m sure, many tan­gi­ble ex­am­ples where com­pa­nies are hav­ing to pay the price due to in­con­ve­nience caused by this whole process. It could have been avoided.’

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