Local MSP Jackie Baillie has called on Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to secure a back-up vessel as the suspension of the Kilcreggan -; Gourock Ferry Service drags on for a second week.
The service was suspended on Monday 17 July as a result of engine failure and the Island Princess has failed two Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspections in the past week following repair works, prolonging the disruption to passengers. The next inspection will take place tomorrow and the outcome will determine whether the service is finally restored this week.
SPT is now facing calls from passengers and Jackie Baillie to make arrangements for a back-up ferry service because the hour and a half long, 50-mile journey by replacement bus service is not a suitable alternative to the usual 13-minute ferry crossing. Residents on the Rosneath Peninsula were left without a ferry service for a week last month when the MCA found ‘serious defects’ on board the Island Princess. Jackie Baillie believes that operators Clydelink are in breach of contract and called on SPT to fine the company and deduct payments from their contract in order to pay for a back-up boat. Failing that she believes that the contract should be terminated.
The Helensburgh and Lomond MSP has been in contact with SPT almost every day and has written to the Transport Minister twice in the last week to demand action to improve the service for passengers.
“The latest prolonged disruption on the Kilcreggan -; Gourock Ferry Service is completely unacceptable and local passengers deserve better.
“I believe that Clydelink is in breach of contract for failing to deliver a reliable service. It is time for SPT to get a grip of the situation and take action against the operator. They should then use any fines they recover from Clydelink and savings from the contract to secure a back-up vessel. The Island Princess has been plagued with maintenance issues in recent months and the one and a half hour, 50-mile journey on the replacement bus service is not a suitable alternative for passengers used to a 13-minute ferry crossing.
“The ferry is a lifeline for residents on the Rosneath Peninsula and the lack of service has had a serious impact on the local community. Patients have missed hospital appointments, people have been late for work and grandparents have been unable to look after their grandchildren during the school holidays. Local businesses, including the café and the pub, have also lost out on trade because the usual influx of tourists over the summer months has not materialised.
“Local people have been patient for long enough. It is clear that the Island Princess is not providing a reliable service and SPT must act now