The DEMOCRAT

New operator for Kilcreggan ferry

Kilcreggan ferry

Local MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed the news that Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is set to approve a new operator for the Kilcreggan – Gourock Ferry Service.  SPT’s Operations Committee is expected to approve plans to award the new contract for the service to Clyde Marine from June 2018 at an increased cost of £325,000. The MSP backed local passengers’ calls for Clydelink to be stripped of the contract last year after unprecedented levels of disruption. Following a petition set up by the MSP, which collected 700 signatures, SPT agreed to seek interest from other operators instead of renewing the contract with Clydelink.  In November, a delegation of local residents from Kilcreggan travelled to the Scottish Parliament to watch a debate secured by Jackie to highlight the plight of local commuters affected by repeated interruptions to the ferry service.  The new contract is due to commence in June but Jackie Baillie is calling for the new operator to take over as soon as possible. Jackie said: “Well done to all the local passengers who signed the petition, sent complaints to SPT, travelled through to Edinburgh for the parliamentary debate and even made up a new song lamenting the lack of a reliable ferry service. The pressure from the local community has successfully forced SPT to take action to improve the service. Without the strength and resolve of local passengers, the current contract with Clydelink could have been extended by up to seven years.  Over the past few months I have been working hard to secure a positive outcome through meetings with SPT and questions and debates in the Scottish Parliament. This new contract is a welcome step from SPT but we need action from the Scottish Government to secure a reliable and sustainable service for years to come. I will continue to press the Scottish Government to continue negotiations on the transfer of the ferry service from SPT to Transport Scotland as soon as possible.”

STOP PRESS:  Commenting on Strathclyde Partnership for Transport’s Operations Committee decision on Friday to formally award the new contract for the Kilcreggan – Gourock Ferry Service to Clyde Marine, the MSP said:  “This is a major step towards a more reliable ferry service so I am very pleased that Clyde Marine’s bid has been formally approved. The sooner Clydelink is replaced the better for passengers and local businesses who depend on this lifeline service. Now that the tender process has established the ‘true cost’ of the service, the Scottish Government should stop dragging its heels and get back to the negotiating table to sort out the transfer of responsibility. The new contract from SPT is only a short-term fix and Transport Scotland has the resources and expertise to secure a robust and reliable ferry service for future generations.”

 

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