Sig­nif­i­cant rise in num­ber of Cal­Mac pas­sen­gers

The Oban Times - - News -

CALE­DO­NIAN MacBrayne car­ried more than five mil­lion pas­sen­gers in 2016, the first time it has reached this mile­stone since 1997.

The com­pany op­er­ates the UK’s largest ferry net­work, with 32 ves­sels car­ry­ing out more than 136,000 sail­ings an­nu­ally.

Many routes saw sig­nif­i­cant rises in car and pas­sen­ger num­bers in the first full year since road equiv­a­lent tar­iff (RET) was in­tro­duced across all ar­eas. There were 5,055,827 pas­sen­gers and 1,356,396 cars car­ried across the net­work, 428,801 more pas­sen­gers and 186,695 more cars than in 2015.

The high­est in­crease in car num­bers on a 2015-2016 like-for-like was 74.9 per cent on the cross­ing be­tween Kil­choan and Tober­mory, which also saw one of the high­est in­creases in pas­sen­ger num­bers, at 29.61 per cent. As a re­sult, a larger ves­sel will op­er­ate this route this sum­mer.

The Mal­laig to the Small Isles route saw car num­bers in­crease by 52.33 per cent and pas­sen­ger num­bers by a more mod­est 9.39 per cent.

Other routes with in­creases of more than 20 per cent in cars and 15 per cent in pas­sen­ger num­bers in­cluded Ardmhor (Barra) to Eriskay, Skye to Raasay and Har­ris (Le­ver­burgh) to Bern­eray.

Cars on the Fion­nphort to Iona cross­ing in­creased by 23 per cent, while Ul­lapool to Stornoway saw 19.83 per cent more cars and 13.85 per cent more pas­sen­gers.

Mal­laig to Ar­madale had a boost with 12.5 per cent more cars, while Mal­laig to Lochbois­dale, which had a new sum­mer timetabled ser­vice in­tro­duced in 2016, saw in­creases of around 2,000 per cent in both pas­sen­gers and cars.

Cal­Mac’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Martin Dorch­ester said: ‘Last year was our busiest in terms of pas­sen­gers for two decades. This is a great re­flec­tion on the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of our staff in deal­ing with an in­crease in more than 400,00 pas­sen­gers and al­most 190,000 cars whilst still run­ning a smooth op­er­a­tion to help all our trav­ellers, whether is­lan­ders or vis­i­tors, busi­ness or plea­sure to get where they are go­ing.’

Humza Yousaf, Min­is­ter for Trans­port and the Is­lands, said: ‘Pass­ing the five mil­lion pas­sen­ger mark is fan­tas­tic news and I con­grat­u­late all the Cal­Mac staff in­volved in de­liv­er­ing this achieve­ment.’

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