CalMac executives are grilled in parliament
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.