Travellers are being refused bookings on their preferred sailings it is claimed.
On a number of sailings this summer, the ferry is not accepting any more vehicles
while one foot passenger could not get a ticket for their planned journey.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant criticised the decision to have just one ship on the busy
Stornoway to Ullpool route.
The MV Loch Seaforth replaced the MV Isle of Lewis and the overnight freight ferry
MV Clipper Ranger.
Mrs Grant said: “We are now reaping the rewards of decision by CMAL and the Scottish
government to only put one ferry on this lifeline route against many stakeholders
objections at the time.”
“Against all public opinion the Loch Seaforth replaced two vessels and only cut the
passage time by 15 minutes, this decision is now coming back to haunt them as the
route is now as predicted becoming overloaded and space for essential Islander travel
not being available.”
She continued: “This all at a time which is well before the school holidays begin.
The fact that a foot passenger was denied travel is extremely concerning.
“I have also been informed that the seating capacity stated for passenger travel
incredulously includes the external seating which if true is a complete nonsense
and would answer why recently people have taken to the floor to sit rather than sitting
outside on wet cold decks.”
Mrs Grant is to meet with Cal Mac’s chief executive Martin Dorchester over the issue.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “The MV Loch Seaforth was designed and built
to carry forecast traffic on the route.
“She brings an increase of 20% car-carrying capacity on the previous vessel, as well
as having sufficient deck space to cope with overnight freight traffic.
“The vessel replacement and deployment plan keeps forecasted demand under review
on an annual basis and helps develop long-term investment plans to meet this demand.
“Transport Scotland, CalMac and CMAL regularly discuss these issues with local representatives
through ferry user group meetings.”
The Scottish Government also made “substantial investment” into building MV Loch
Seaforth plus harbour improvements at Ullapool and Stornoway.
Concerns over Stornoway ferry capacity on peak summer sailings
11 June 2017
Concerns have been raised about capacity on the Stornoway ferry this summer.