Rothesay’s ferry travellers face the most significant change to travel plans in a generation due to the closure of Wemyss Bay one week from now.
The last day of ‘normal’ services to and from Wemyss Bay will be Wednesday, September 30, before the terminal closes for 24 weeks for major refurbishment work.
As reported in previous issues, Rothesay’s ferries will sail to and from Gourock throughout the closure period - though fares will drop to the lower RET-based level from October 1 as compensation, while passengers will also be able to travel via Western Ferries at Hunter’s Quay and CalMac’s Rhubodach-Colintraive service without any increase in the ticket price.
Discounted ten-journey books of tickets will cease to be valid from October 1 - though significantly, CalMac has announced this week that travellers will be able to buy “several” RET tickets at once, to save queuing and buying a ticket for every sailing.
CalMac has also pubished a list of ‘frequently asked questions’ (and answers!) relating to the closure period, which we reproduce in full below.
Full details of the Rothesay-Gourock ferry timetable and fares - complete with train connections times at Gourock - can be found at www.calmac.co.uk, with hard copies available at pier offices and on board.
* * * * * * * * * *
How long will the diversion last for?
Contractors have said they can complete the work in 24 weeks.
What guarantee is there for completion on time?
Work will be competed to the contractors’ set schedule dependent on factors such as bad weather.
Is there parking at Gourock for commuters?
There is adequate parking available in Gourock.
What are the connections for bus/rail passengers?
Good bus and rail connections exist at Gourock to all major destinations.
Will there be a bus that goes to Inverclyde hospital?
There is a McGill’s service thats serves Inverclyde Hospital from Gourock railway station next to the port.
Would there be any additional sailings if demand on the route means traffic/passengers are left behind?
We believe we have sufficient capacity to cope with the anticipated traffic, but will monitor the situation over the course of the diversion.
Will there be a combined ticket with Western Ferries?
Yes, tickets purchased from CalMac ticket will also be valid on the Western Ferries crossing to Dunoon.
What facilities are there at Gourock for passengers?
There is a waiting room with toilets, baby changing facilities, vending machines providing a range of snacks and drinks and digital message boards providing passengers with onward transport information.
How will we be ticketed at Gourock (car)?
There will be two ticket offices available for passengers to purchase tickets.
Are there any alternative arrangements if the weather is too bad to sail to Rothesay?
If the Western Ferries route is still operating passengers can use this under the joint ticketing agreement.
Will the ticket prices be the same?
Road equivalent tariff (RET) is being introduced by the Scottish Government on the Rothesay route from October 1. This will bring the single fare down from £5.15 to £3.05 for passengers and from £20.15 to £10.95 for vehicles. These will apply to the temporary Gourock diversion as well.
Will I get a discount?
No discount will be provided during the closure period. However in light of the disruption that is likely to be experienced by customers, RET is being introduced earlier than planned and has been brought forward from October 26, 2015 to October 1, 2015.
In the event of bad weather will passengers be rerouted via Hunter’s Quay?
This is not a recognised relief route at the moment and we will not be introducing it as one. If passengers chose of their own accord to use the Western Ferries services they can do so under the temporary joint ticketing arrangements.
What about drop off and pick up?
Passengers will continue to be able to drop off and pick up passengers as normal.
Will it be a bookable service?
It will be a turn up and pay service as it is currently.
What about catering?
The same vessels will operate the route so all on board facilities remain the same.
Will check in times be the same?
Check in times for the diverted service will a minimum of 10 minutes before departure for foot passengers and 30 minutes for vehicles. Due to the tight turnaround times, check in times will be enforced and passengers are requested to comply at all times. Turnaround times will be clearly marked with new signage.
Will there be a back up bus service?
We do not provide a back up bus service on this route and have no plans to introduce one.
Has there been any consideration given to providing later bus services from Gourock to Largs during the closure period?
This is something we are currently in discussion over with bus operators and will provide further details when they become available.