Local MSP Jackie Baillie held a positive meeting with the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, yesterday to discuss the future of the Gourock-Kilcreggan ferry service and welcomed the news that it would be run by the Scottish Government.
The Minister confirmed that SPT signed an agreement in principle last week (27 September) on handing over responsibility for the service to Transport Scotland. This follows years of campaigning to get the Scottish Government to assume responsibility for the running of the service. It is expected that SPT will extend the current contract for a short interim period before the service is re-tendered as part of the Gourock-Dunoon contract. At this stage it is not possible to provide an exact timescale and Transport Scotland will work hand in hand with SPT to ensure there is a smooth transition.
Jackie Baillie also invited Nick Davies, the chairman of Cove & Kilcreggan Community Council, to the meeting to ensure that the needs of local passengers who use the service were at the forefront of the discussion. Jackie Baillie and Mr Davies told the Minister that the ferry was a ‘lifeline’ for many people and highlighted the need for a more reliable service.
“Local ferry users will be delighted to hear that we finally have agreement in principle on transferring responsibility for the service to Transport Scotland. The local community has long believed that this is the best way to provide a sustainable and reliable ferry service.
“Bundling the Kilcreggan ferry in with the same contract as the Dunoon service will hopefully offer opportunities for improving the service, including larger vessels, access to a replacement boat and better communication with passengers.
“The most important thing now is that the process is underway and I will continue to keep a close eye on developments to ensure that the needs of local passengers are put first.”
The chairman of Cove & Kilcreggan Community Council, Nick Davies, said:
“Yesterday’s meeting with the Transport Minister at the Scottish Parliament went very well, and it appears that we have at last achieved a breakthrough regarding the Kilcreggan-Gourock ferry service. Although things won’t change for a while, we have at least achieved the first step, which is good news indeed