Tag Archives: ferry

CalMac Correspondence: Deployment of LOTI

Whilst the Clansman covered the Uig/Tarbert/Loch Maddy triangle over the last few weeks, TCC received concerns from the public in relation to ferries being fully booked.

Although this was not highlighted in the recent TCC update in an Tirisdeach, we were in touch with CalMac in the course of LOTI’s deployment. Correspondence for your information is below. The stats mentioned were discussed at the Community Council meeting on 3 Oct.

29 September

Hello Robert,

Further to our discussion yesterday, there is plenty of comment on Tiree following yesterdays press release that Friday, Saturday and Monday are now fully booked and wait-listed. While I realise that the decision to re-position the Clansman will not be reversed, is there anything that can be done with the MV Isle of Mull to relieve this pinch? I would imagine that Oban-Craignure is possibly no longer as busy as high summer, and Mull also has the second string backup of the MV Coruisk.

Alternatively, can the Saturday double sailing, (now ceased for 2016), be extended for the week or so period that the Clansman is relieving on the triangle? As the company points out, it is Coll and Tiree that are bearing the brunt of the MV Hebrides mishap, but a little creative thinking would go a long way to retaining public support.

Also, prior to our Community Council meeting next Wednesday evening, could you possibly supply John and I with route statistics for summer 2016? We would be most interested to learn if the double Saturday rotation has been a success, and also if exclusive use of Clansman during summer 2016 has produced a percentage increase of summer 2015 carryings.

Best regards,

Ian

Ian Gillies,
Tiree Community Council.

3 Oct

Ian,

Thanks for your E mail and sorry for the delay in responding.
We are somewhat challenged again this week with adverse weather!!!
Regarding the LOTI deployment can I thank you and the community for their patience during this difficult time.

In order to help manage the LOTI deployment I have asked the port to review all sailings for the next week and to consider instances where the capacity booked exceeds the LOTI size. Next Saturday is an example of this.
To account for this we have requested that the vessel consider a normal Oban-Coll-Tiree rotation but then follow this with a direct Oban Tiree- Oban sailing to cover the additional need.
I await confirmation of this option but recognise your need to know so will urge.

We are continuing to work closely with the hauliers to ensure all space booked is essential for supplies.
They are helping greatly to ensure we prioritise the essential.

I await Stats from our Stats dept and will share ASAP.

Regards,

Robert Morrison
Area Operations Manager
Calmac Ferries Ltd

3 Oct

Hello Robert,

Thank you for this response and the possible solution of providing a double LOTI rotation this coming Saturday will certainly relieve the pressure over this coming weekend of school holiday traffic etc.

Thanks also for following up on the provision of carrying statistics over summer 2016, which I am hopeful will provide upbeat information, although there is obviously an associated cost.

Best regards,

Ian.

Tiree Community Council news

The Community Council met last week with about ten members of the public and Roddy McCuish, one of four Argyll and Bute Councillors that represent Tiree, who had made the trip out here.

The main topic of discussion was the library service on Tiree. The Council had announced last month during their latest round of cuts that all school librarians were losing their jobs. Tiree Community Council and the Tiree Parent Council had joined forces to fight this, penning an article for the Oban Times and talking to the Mull and Iona Library Action Group. I wrote a personal letter to all District Councillors, saying that we were ‘implacably opposed to this proposed cut’ and calling for talks. Out of thirty five Councillors, fifteen replied (we are still waiting to hear from our MP), nine of whom supported our position. One reply, however, stood out. It was from Rory Colville the lead Councillor for Education. He told us that the library was not closing after all, but was being kept open full-time as a community public library, run by a senior library assistant rather than a Chartered Librarian as present. Opening hours which included evening and Saturday opening for the general public had been suggested, and the facility would be open all year round and not just during term time. This would bring it into line with smaller, single-manned libraries on the mainland. Because of a new security review it was suggested that it might be difficult for members of the public to access the library during school hours. Having faced the complete loss of our library, we welcomed this development in principle, although a lot of work was still needed to get the best out of this service for all the community and the school.

The Community Council had also been involved in negotiations with Argyll and Bute over the future of the Customer Service Point in Crossapol, which, it had been proposed, would be passed over to either the Tiree Community Business or the Trust to run with reduced hours. After some haggling the Service Point will stay as a Council post with slightly reduced hours.  During the meeting a member of the public pointed out that that she had tried to go there that very day and the office had been closed because the staff member was on holiday and cover was no longer being provided. Roddy McCuish said this was ridiculous and he would take this closure up with Council officials.

A draft ferry timetable for next winter had been welcomed by the Tiree Transport Forum and is now on the website for comments. We also received a letter from Brendan Dick, a senior BT manager, saying the break in the fibre optic cable caused by a (non-island) fishing boat had been repaired and that he hoped the first Tiree customers would be connected to the faster broadband service in June. A member of the public said that her Vodafone signal had suddenly deteriorated following an engineer’s visit to the mast, and we will investigate this. We decided to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation about Air Passenger Duty, even though it doesn’t apply to Tiree’s Twin Otter service. There has been mounting frustration over the failure by Argyll and Bute to deal with the abandoned trailers around the island, and Councillor McCuish said he knew which cages to rattle. Rosemary and I had attended some training on planning, where we had been encouraged, as a Community Council, to be more active.

Dr John Holliday, John MacCaskill, Alison Kennedy, Iona Campbell and Ian Gillies were present. Roddy said he would try to get more visits from the other three Argyll and Bute Councillors, or at the very least set up a monthly video conference with us. Councillors’ expenses had been slashed too in the latest budget, and the travel and overnight stay to Tiree ate into his allowance. Finally we thanked Alison Kennedy, who is leaving the island, for serving as our Secretary. It is a time-consuming job, and her ‘furious’ letters will be greatly missed! Do come along to our next meeting, look at our brilliant new website (thanks to Rhoda Meek), email, write or pester us on the street about any issues that are bugging you!

John MacCaskill appointed to the Transport Minister’s Ferry Procurement Reference Panel

Our Vice Convenor, John MacCaskill has been appointed to the Transport Minister’s Ferry Procurement Reference Panel. This is a newly established group looking at the way that government secures ferry services and that these services are procured in a cost effective and fair manner.

Our congratulations to John, we know that he can make a good contribution to the debate around how our ferry services are tendered and contracted.