CalMac criticised over pier operations

A commuter has hit out at CalMac's operations at Gourock Pier following the transfer of services from Wemyss Bay during its closure for essential works.
A commuter has hit out at CalMac's operations at Gourock Pier following the transfer of services from Wemyss Bay during its closure for essential works.

A commuter has hit out at CalMac over the handling of pier operations at Gourock during Wemyss Bay’s closure for essential works.

Alisdair Johnston, in a letter to the editor, has raised his concerns over the revised ferry arrangements after travelling on the route on Friday, October 2 - the second day of the alternative link.

Speaking of a delay in boarding at Gourock due to safety inspections of the new passenger gangway, Mr Johnston said: “The plan to operate ferries from Gourock on October 1 had been established since before the summer –why did it take until the first day of proper operations (October 1 being lost due to fog) to conduct a safety inspection?

“What part of ‘lifeline service’ don’t CalMac get? Commuters really don’t care whether they exit the ferry via the car deck or via the (super steep) gangplank. We just want to leave the ferry in order to catch our train as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for CalMac told us: “We are aware of Mr Johnson’s concerns and will address the specific points he raises with him in due course, however, we welcome this opportunity to say a few words about the current diversion to Gourock.

“Addressing the impact of the closure of Wemyss Bay Pier in order to minimise the disruption to ferry customers is a massively complicated exercise with a number of significant operational challenges which we anticipated and have been planning for, and which have largely gone well.

“That said, for a diversion on this scale to an already busy port it was inevitable that some issues would only become evident when the service began operating for real, and that was exacerbated at the start by the severe fog and extremely high tides which presented their own challenges.”

* Read Mr Johnston’s letter and the story, in full, in this week’s Buteman - on sale from Thursday, October 8.