Community backing for CalMac service improvements
Timetable changes to improve bus and train connections are among the service improvements being made by ferry operator CalMac.
Transport Scotland has agreed a total of 15 timetable changes for Summer 2018 after an extensive consultation with communities across the west coast. Changes include increases to some peak time and Sunday sailings, improved transport connectivity as well as changes to improve capacity to Islay.
CalMac's Director of Service Delivery, Robbie Drummond said:
'These changes are a direct result of us promising to work more closely with the communities we serve, to shape services that best meet their needs. I'd like to thank everyone involved for making their views known, your input has been invaluable in developing next summer's sailings.'
Chair of Islay Community Council, Islay McEachern said:
'We welcome the initiative proposed by CalMac. The Islay Ferry Committee are very conscious of the need for further capacity expansion of the Islay service to cope with a projected increase in demand from distilleries as well as a continuing upward demand from visitors and the community.'
Mr Drummond added: 'I'm especially pleased that we are now able to provide an earlier service from Lochboisdale to Mallaig on weekends that will enable people to connect with the train to Fort William, and that the extended Sunday service to Stornoway will significantly improve capacity during the busy summer season.'
'Our bid committed to the appointment of a Timetables and Transport Integration Manager to improve public transport connectivity and enhance engagement and transparency throughout the timetables process. The appointment of Demi Wylie into this role has very much helped shape the process and delivered these successful outcomes.'
Here is a full list of the changes being made for next summer.
Wemyss Bay - Rothesay
The 1010 departing Rothesay is moving to 1005 to allow better train integration.
Largs - Cumbrae
Two additional return sailings on a Sunday departing Largs at 0815 and Cumbrae 0830 and departing 0945 from Largs and 1000 Cumbrae. The two-vessel summer timetable is being moved to cover the English school holidays and will now operate June 18 to September 8.
Islay - Kennacraig
Extending the three extra round trip sailings between Kennacraig and Islay in July and August to cover the entire summer timetable and moving them to more suitable times.
Fionnphort - Iona
The Sunday sailing 0900 from Iona is changing to 0850 to enable better bus connectivity.
Oban - Lismore
The Monday-Friday 0650 departing Oban will be changing to 0645 and the 0750 from Lismore to 0745 to allow for better train connections. The Sunday sailing departing Oban at 1100 is being brought forward to 1000 and the 1500 departing Oban on a Sunday is being put back to 1600, both changes to improve transport integration.
Sconser - Raasay
The 1200 departing Raasay is being changed to 1215 and 1230 departing Sconser to 1300 to improve bus connections.
Lochboisdale - Mallaig
The 0700 departing Lochboisdale Friday, Saturday and Sunday is being amended to 0620 to enable connection with the 1010 train to Fort William.
Stornoway - Ullapool
Extension of the double Sunday timetable from a 10-week period to the full duration of the summer timetable.
Uig - Tarbert - Lochmaddy
The peak summer timetable extended from 10 to 18 weeks.
Full information on the Summer Timetable 2018 can be found at calmac.co.uk