Caledonian MacBrayne is considering setting up a Clyde river bus service which would sail into Glasgow city centre.
The company’s chief executive, Martin Dorchester, said in a BBC radio interview that the firm would look at the option in more detail later this year.
Mr Dorchester gave no detail of the extent of the possible service, though he did say any such operation would not rely on the public subsidy which supports the rest of CalMac’s operations.
“The fact the contract that CalMac runs is called the Clyde Hebridean Ferry Services gives a clue in the first word about where we want to develop things,” he said.
“I think it could come right in to the city. Our view would be ‘maximise the Clyde as much as we can’.
“We wouldn’t see that as a subsidised government service, so therefore it would have to pay for itself, therefore we would have to look at the volume of customers and take it from there.”
Several alternatives to the traditional ‘point-to-point’ ferry services operated by CalMac and its predecessors since the 1950s have been mooted over the years.
The most recent, by a company called Clydefast, proposed a fast ferry service from Rothesay and other points on the upper Clyde to Glasgow in 2002, but the idea proved stillborn amid concerns over the availability of suitable vessels and berthing points.
Clydefast carried out a hovercraft trial on the Firth in 2008 to assess the suitability of a fast service to and from Glasgow, but nothing has been heard of the idea since then.