Local MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed Strathclyde Passenger Transport’s (SPT) decision to ask the SNP Government to take over responsibility for operating the Gourock -; Kilcreggan Ferry Service.
Freedom of Information requests submitted by Jackie Baillie reveal that SPT has finally told Transport Scotland that it wants to hand the route over to the Scottish Government. This follows years of campaigning by passengers and Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council who believe that the current lifeline service is unreliable.
SPT minutes of a meeting with Argyll and Bute Council and Transport Scotland in May show that officials are looking at a number of options for transferring the service to Transport Scotland from as early as April 2017. Transport Scotland is currently tendering for the Gourock-Dunoon service and it is believed that incorporating the Kilcreggan ferry into the same procurement process would provide value for money.
Since 2013 the debate over the future of the ferry had centred on whether it could be described as a ‘lifeline’ service, with each authority going round in circles and passing the buck over who was responsible for making the case for transfer. But the SPT documents obtained by Jackie Baillie says that there is “no need to be pre-occupied” about this point and the definition of lifeline is “fluid” because it applies to other peninsulas.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has agreed to Jackie Baillie’s request for a meeting to discuss the future of the service when the Scottish Parliament returns from recess. She will be pressing the SNP Government to accept the request from SPT and get to work on improving the service as soon as possible.
Jackie Baillie has campaigned since 2013 for the SNP Government to take over the service and praised local residents and passengers for their persistence.
“This is great news for local campaigners, and particularly Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council, who have consistently argued that this is the best way to provide a sustainable and reliable ferry service. Other campaigns would have been discouraged by the lack of action so I am delighted that they kept up the pressure.
“SPT, Argyll and Bute Council and the SNP Government have spent years avoiding making the first move to transfer the service. I have been calling for this outcome since 2013 when the SNP Government published its Ferries Plan so it is crucial that we get an agreement on the way forward as soon as possible. I look forward to meeting the new Transport Secretary shortly and I will be pressing the SNP Government to confirm that it will now take over the Kilcreggan Ferry service.
” This is the only ferry service run by SPT and I hope that the transfer to the Scottish Government is accepted and we can work together to ensure a better service for passengers for years to come