Passengers to get taxis for urgent hospital appointments

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CalMac will arrange for ferry users to travel by taxi to urgent NHS appointments if residents are unable to secure a booking for their car on the ferry.

If customers find themselves having to travel for an urgent medical appointment with less than seven days’ notice and are unable to book a vehicle, CalMac Customer Contact Centre will ensure they can reach their NHS destination as a foot passenger with a return taxi journey to their appointment.

CalMac’s managing director, Robbie Drummond, said: ‘First and foremost we are a lifeline service to the communities we support, but under the current terms of our contract we cannot prioritise space on sailings for local people, presenting us with challenges in certain circumstances.

‘This new approach is one way we can offer some flexibilities to islanders who need to attend hospital or other urgent NHS appointments at short notice and is a direct result of concerns they have raised.

‘We recognise our services are under ever growing pressure. By investing in initiatives such as this we hope to help satisfy the demands of regular customers, in certain last minute circumstances.’

Last year CalMac’s 33-strong fleet carried 1.4 million vehicles to 50 ports and slipways on island and remote mainland locations. They also carried 5.6 million passengers and the increase in ferry demand has meant that securing a car booking, as on the Brodick to Ardrossan route, can sometimes not be made without booking weeks, and in some cases months, in advance.

For more information customers can call the Customer Contact Centre on 0800 066 5000.