Reduced capacity on Rothesay’s ferry service

CalMac's MV Coruisk began her spell providing relief cover on the Rothesay-Gourock ferry service on October 28.

CalMac's MV Coruisk began her spell providing relief cover on the Rothesay-Gourock ferry service on October 28.

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Rothesay’s ferry service will operate at a reduced capacity until the beginning of December during MV Coruisk’s annual spell of overhaul cover.

The Coruisk took up the Rothesay-Gourock route on Wednesday morning, allowing MV Bute to sail to dry dock in Gourock for her annual survey.

Caledonian MacBrayne has published, for the first time, details of relief cover on all its routes in the Clyde and Hebrides; the Coruisk will cover for MV Bute until November 13, and for MV Argyle from November 14 until December 1.

As previously reported on this site, the Coruisk’s lower capacity - for a maximum of 249 passengers and 40 cars, compared to the resident vessels’ 450 passengers and 60 cars - has led to concerns that passengers on the Rothesay route may not always be able to travel on the first available sailing.

Capacity on the Rothesay service has already been reduced by the diversion to Gourock while Wemyss Bay pier undergoes major repairs.

Vehicle drivers can make use of the ‘joint ticketing’ agreement between CalMac and Western Ferries to travel to and from Bute via Colintraive and Western’s frequent service between Hunter’s Quay and McInroy’s Point, though there is no similar contingency for foot passengers.

“Arranging dry dock for our fleet is a complex logistical exercise that we try and undertake with minimal potential disruption to our normal services. We appreciate our passengers patience and understanding for the short period of time that they are not served by their normal vessel,” said CalMac’s operations director, Drew Collier.

“We have many competing demands from the communities we serve during this period and try hard to meet these where we possibly can.”

Overhaul cover on the Rhubodach-Colintraive service is being provided until November 2 by MV Loch Fyne, identical sister to the route’s resident vessel, MV Loch Dunvegan.