Bute left out of CalMac ticket giveaway

MV Bute at Rothesay harbour.
MV Bute at Rothesay harbour.

Caledonian MacBrayne is marking National Ferry Fortnight by giving away a thousand free tickets - in an offer which doesn’t include Bute.

Under the terms of the promotion, passengers will be able to buy one return ticket and get another free on any of the company’s 19 bookable routes.

But neither of Bute’s routes come under the ‘bookable’ category, with passengers always having been able to turn up and travel on both the Rothesay-Gourock (or Wemyss Bay) and Rhubodach-Colintraive services without having to book in advance, subject to available space.

Other islands which will miss out as a result of the limits on the promotion are Cumbrae, Gigha, Iona and Raasay; in addition, the offer doesn’t apply on the mainland-to-mainland Tarbert-Portavadie link, or on the ‘back door’ routes to Mull and Arran.

A CalMac spokesperson said: “Ferry Fortnight is an opportunity for us to promote ferry travel across the whole of the west coast.

“For technical reasons we are restricted at the moment to managing this offer to bookable routes only, but with a view to rolling it out across the whole network in the future as we improve our ticketing systems.”

For CalMac routes which are bookable, the new offer, valid from March 5-19 (the duration of National Ferry Fortnight), only applies to tickets booked with CalMac over the phone, and is for foot passengers only; once purchased, the tickets are valid until September 30.