Joint ticket deal opens up alternative route to Bute

Western Ferries and CalMac will operate a joint ticketing arrangement for the duration of the closure of Wemyss Bay pier.
Western Ferries and CalMac will operate a joint ticketing arrangement for the duration of the closure of Wemyss Bay pier.

Ferry operators Western Ferries (Clyde) Limited and CalMac Ferries have teamed-up in an innovative joint ticketing initiative to help minimise disruption caused by the Wemyss Bay pier repairs

CalMac’s Rothesay to Wemyss Bay service is being diverted to Gourock for a period of around 24 weeks from October 1 to allow the Wemyss Bay facilities to be modernised - and to increase options for customers travelling to and from the island, the two companies will operate a joint ticketing arrangement for the duration of the closure

Passengers will have the option of travelling on Western Ferries’ service between Gourock and Dunoon and then CalMac’s service between Colintraive and Rhubodach for the same price as the Gourock to Rothesay fare.

Those opting to use either of these alternative routes will need to purchase their tickets at CalMac’s ticket offices in either Rothesay or Gourock, where they will be issued with a voucher for onward travel.

Western Ferries will not be issuing these vouchers; those turning up without a correct voucher will be charged at the published rate if they wish to travel.

Gordon Ross, the managing director of Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd, said: “From the moment it was announced that Wemyss Bay was going to be out of operation for an extended period, Western Ferries quickly realised that this may cause some inconvenience to those travelling to and from Bute.

“As a result, I approached CalMac to offer our service and this arrangement as an alternative. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Russell MSP and Robert MacIntyre, Argyll and Bute councillor, for their support of this arrangement.

“Western Ferries operate up to 104 daily departures, taking approximately 20 minutes to sail between Gourock and Dunoon, thereby providing a quick and efficient alternative to travellers preferring to make the 20 mile road journey to connect with the Colintraive to Rhubodach service.

“Western Ferries are very pleased to be able to assist all those travelling to and from Bute during the closure of Wemyss Bay. This arrangement will also prove useful if there is any disruption to the ferry service between Gourock and Rothesay.

“As far as I am aware this is the first occasion where both companies have reached a through ticketing agreement. It should operate as a viable alternative for travellers over the course of the Wemyss Bay terminal works.”

CalMac’s head of ticketing and reservations, Alan Hood, said: “We realise that any disruption to normal service can be an inconvenience, so we were keen to give our customers as many options as possible to ensure the smoothest possible journey.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to reach agreement with Western Ferries over joint ticketing. It means that our customers will be able to use tickets on either service for the duration of the work, which gives our passengers an added option when travelling to and from Bute.”

Work being planned for Wemyss Bay include improvement to pier, linkspan and fendering along with dredging of the harbour.

Details of the new joint ticketing arrangements can be found at www.calmac.co.uk or call the customer care team on 0800 066 5000. Full details of Western Ferries’ timetable can be found at www.western-ferries.co.uk.