Hopes of an extended operating day on the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay route appear to have been dashed – for now at least – following the publication on Wednesday of the Scottish Government’s long-awaited Ferries Plan.
Despite appeals from the public to look again at enhancements to the island’s main link with the mainland, the Ferries Plan states that “the basic position has not changed” from a draft plan which dismissed the idea of providing later sailings on the Rothesay route on cost grounds.
However, the plan proposes minor improvements to the Rhubodach-Colintraive service – though the exact extent those improvements may be remains unclear.
Paragraph 45 of the report states that “it is possible to make minor improvements to this service in the short term which we believe will benefit the community.
“Between April and August the last sailing from Rhubodach is 9 pm (for the remainder of the year it is 8 pm). Under the new timetable arrangements the last sailing will be 9 pm all year round.”
However, Appendix 2 to the report, which summarises the proposed short-term service changes, refers to “a later evening sailing on one additional day”, while Appendix 7, a list of the overall increase in the number of ferry sailings across Scotland, mentions a total of 28 extra sailings on the Kyles crossing – which doesn’t appear to square with a year-round extension to 9pm.
We’ve sought clarification on this point and will be studying the report in more detail later today – keep an eye on this site for more information.