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13/01/2016

New CalMac summer timetable brings benefits across West Coast

Improved ferry services across the west coast for this summer have now been finalised between Transport Scotland, local communities and ferry operator CalMac.

Improved ferry services across the west coast for this summer have now been finalised between Transport Scotland, local communities and ferry operator CalMac. 

Extensive community consultation has taken place since the draft timetable was launched two months ago and the revised version now more closely meets with the vast majority of island communities' wish list of services.

"This is a major step forward in meeting the aspirations of the Uist community and indeed the outer island chain," said chairman of Storas Uibhist and spokesperson for Better Ferries For Lochboisdale, Angus MacMillan. "I would like to thanks Cal Mac and Transport Scotland for recognising the concerns and addressing these capacity problems. 

"These improvements will go a long way to setting in motion the longer term aspirations and we look forward to working closely with the ferry operator to deliver those." 

The main enhancements for this year are:

  • A daily direct return service between Oban-Barra with a dedicated vessel, delivering a considerable increase in capacity.

  • A daily direct return service between Lochboisdale-Mallaig using a dedicated vessel.

  • An additional 50 weekly sailings on the Oban-Craignure route, with a second vessel supplementing the MV Isle of Mull. This means Oban will become a commutable destination from Mull for the first time.

  • Extra sailings on the Mallaig-Armadale route.

  • Estimated 14% increase in capacity on services to Coll and Tiree with as much as 30% at peak times.

Detailed amendments to the timetables made during the consultation process included: continuation of the tri island service between Tiree Coll and Barra, earlier and later departures for Coll, a change in vessel for Colonsay, increased capacity and frequency of service on the Mallaig Armadale route and the MV Loch Seaforth to carry out two additional weekend Stornoway Ullapool sailings.

"While our initial timetable met a lot of aspirations from the communities we serve. we needed to get out into the network, speak to them, and closely refine them to meet their exact needs as much as possible," said CalMac's operations director, Drew Collier.

"This has been a detailed and time consuming process and I would like to thank everyone for their patience. I'm confident that given the resources we have, we now have in place for this summer a timetable that will meet the needs of commuters, business and visitors better than ever before." 

The timetable is now open for booking at www.calmac.co.uk

 

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