Meeting this week over Rothesay-Gourock ferry complaints

CalMac's MV Argyle in Rothesay Bay.
CalMac's MV Argyle in Rothesay Bay.

Caledonian MacBrayne officials are to meet local councillors and community representatives this week to discuss a long - and growing - list of complaints from Bute residents about the ferry service between Rothesay and Gourock.

Since the introduction of the Gourock service on October 1, when the usual mainland terminal at Wemyss Bay closed for 24 weeks for major repairs, passengers have raised concerns with local Argyll and Bute councillors, and with members of Bute Community Council, about issues including:

* the suitability of the gangway at Gourock - in particular its narrow width and the steep angle of the facility at high tide

* the strict application - or, in some cases, not so strict - of the check-in times of 30 minutes for vehicles and 10 minutes for foot passengers, at Gourock in particular

* the number of times the vessels are unable to stick to the advertised 60-minute crossing time

* the absence of a replacement bus service to give foot passengers the option, already open to vehicle drivers, of taking the alternative route to/from Bute via the Colintraive crossing and Western Ferries at Hunter’s Quay when the Rothesay route is disrupted

* the cancellation of services on both Bute routes due to thick fog on October 1, when Western Ferries kept sailing without disruption.

“There are so many issues around the ferries at the moment,” Councillor Robert Macintyre told Bute Community Council’s October meeting.

“I have plenty lined up ahead of this meeting and I’m sure everyone around this table has issues too.”