CalMac ex­ec­u­tives are grilled in par­lia­ment

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

SE­NIOR ex­ec­u­tives from ferry op­er­a­tor CalMac have been giv­ing ev­i­dence to a Scot­tish Par­lia­ment com­mit­tee.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Dorch­ester and Rob­bie Drum­mond, group fi­nance di­rec­tor, ap­peared be­fore the Ru­ral Econ­omy and Con­nec­tiv­ity Com­mit­tee last Wed­nes­day.

The com­mit­tee took ev­i­dence on the de­liv­ery of the Clyde and He­brides ferry ser­vices. David MacBrayne Ltd, CalMac’s par­ent com­pany, is wholly owned by Scot­tish min­is­ters.

Is­sues cov­ered in the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee ses­sion in­cluded:

❚ How they in­tend to in­crease pas­sen­ger/ ve­hi­cle traf­fic by 10 per cent and com­mer­cial traf­fic by 12 per cent over the course of the con­tract, and what im­pact fail­ure to achieve this growth have on tax­payer sup­port for CalMac ser­vices.

❚ When smart tick­et­ing will be in­tro­duced on CalMac ser­vices, and what ben­e­fits that will bring to pas­sen­gers, and whether such tickets will al­low for on­ward travel by other modes.

❚ De­tails on plans to in­crease lo­cal em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially the cre­ation of more ap­pren­tice­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties.

❚ An up­date on whether Ar­gyll Fer­ries has sub­mit­ted a bid to con­tinue op­er­at­ing the Gourock-Dunoon pas­sen­ger ferry ser­vice, and any prac­ti­cal or com­mer­cial bar­ri­ers to op­er­at­ing a half-hourly ser­vice on the Gourock-Dunoon route.

❚ The MV Lord of the Isles be­ing taken out of ser­vice for es­sen­tial re­pairs. Given that the ves­sel is over 30 years old and that there is no like-for-like re­place­ment, the com­mit­tee asked if the ves­sel re­place­ment and de­ploy­ment plans will be suf­fi­cient to en­sure ro­bust ser­vice pro­vi­sion in the com­ing years.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment set out its poli­cies and pro­pos­als for the de­vel­op­ment of Scot­land’s do­mes­tic ferry ser­vices in the Scot­tish Ferry Ser­vices Plan 2013-2022, which can be read at www.trans­port.gov.scot/sys­tem/files/up­load­ed_ con­tent/doc­u­ments/tsc_ ba­sic_ pages/Wa­ter/Scot­tish%20Fer­ries%20Plan%202013-2022.pdf.

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