Police help tackle non-essential travel on CalMac ferries

Ferry travel has been restricted since late March. Picture by Bill Heaney

A ferry company has called in the police to help check whether some passengers are eligible to travel.

Caledonian MacBrayne’s sailings are¬†only open for essential travel¬†during the coronavirus lockdown.

Passengers need to prove they are either an island resident, a key worker, or travelling to provide medical support to family members.

Ferry staff have turned away 145 people on CalMac’s west coast network since the end of March.

They had been unable to show evidence their primary address was on an island, or that they were essential workers.

CalMac said it had sought the help of the police during traditionally busier periods over the past few weeks to ensure that customers were telling the truth and that their journey was essential.

The ferry company’s services should only be used for essential supplies or for business by those who live on the islands.

Most of those refused travel were believed to have been day trippers, and the majority of the refusals were on Firth of Clyde services. Fifty-six people have been turned away at the ferry at Largs.

Other routes have seen far fewer people refused travel.

Six drivers have been turned away at Stornoway in Lewis, four at Mallaig, two at Oban and only one driver was refused passage on the Sound of Harris route.

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