‘Four months’ of Rothesay ferry disruption, says MSP

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell says major repairs to Wemyss Bay pier, due to begin in February 2015, will see Rothesay ferry services diverted to Gourock for a period of four months. CalMac's upper Clyde winter relief ferry, MV Coruisk, is seen here loading at Wemyss Bay in November 2013.
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell says major repairs to Wemyss Bay pier, due to begin in February 2015, will see Rothesay ferry services diverted to Gourock for a period of four months. CalMac's upper Clyde winter relief ferry, MV Coruisk, is seen here loading at Wemyss Bay in November 2013.

Rothesay’s ferry users face four months of disruption while major repair works are carried out on Wemyss Bay pier, according to local MSP Michael Russell.

Mr Russell issued a statement on Thursday afternoon reacting to Caledonian MacBrayne’s announcement that Rothesay’s ferries would be diverted to run to and from Gourock from February 2015 to allow the repairs to be carried out.

CalMac’s own announcement did not mention a timescale for the work, but a news release with Mr Russell’s response made specific reference to “four months of diversion to Gourock for the Rothesay ferry, a revised timetable and an increase in journey time”.

A spokesperson for Mr Russell said that information had come directly from CalMac.

Commenting on news of the disruption, Mr Russell said: “This is obvious bad news for Bute but I am grateful to CalMac for recognising that everything must be done to keep the period of disruption to a minimum and for ensuring that compensatory measures, including a 15% fare cut, are put in place for passengers including the many commuters who use the route.

“I will keep in close touch with the company whilst preparations are made for the period of disruption and of course will be keen to help any constituents who experience difficulties, either on Bute or in Cowal.

“Vehicles will also be able to use the Western Ferries service to Hunters Quay and the Colintraive Rhubodach CalMac ferry and that journey will be easier in the new year when the upgrading of the road from Sandbank to Glendaruel is finished.

“Sometimes there are no alternatives particularly when infrastructure needs urgent repair. But having spoken to CalMac about this I know everybody will be working together to guarantee that difficulties are kept to minimum and that the work is finished as quickly as possible.”