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At last week’s meeting of the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee (AFC) it was acknowledged that the reliability of the 7am ferry from Ardrossan has been severely impacted of late with the MV Caledonian Isles berthing in Brodick. This has meant that goods and services are not arriving on Arran until the 10.40am boat instead of 8am, leading to disruption and inconvenience.
The AFC has proposed for Winter 2020, that if the vessel is to potentially berth in Brodick overnight, the 7.20pm that evening is cancelled in favour of an earlier ferry at 5.40am from Brodick in the morning, thereby allowing the 7am to depart Ardrossan to schedule and deliveries to be on Arran as per normal.
There was also a suggestion that for winter 2021, Arran considers swapping the timetable round, so that the 7am would leave Brodick, and 8.20am leave Ardrossan and so forth throughout the day.
Ardrossan habour was also discussed and it emerged that the repeated failure of the Arran berth relates to one fender which there is some dispute over responsibility for. A meeting has been arranged with Transport Scotland, CalMac and the AFC in a bid to find a solution.
There was also clarification the current 80/20 split on the ferry; 80 per cent of the passenger capacity is released for booking in advance, and on the day 20 per cent is released for foot passengers to turn up and go. This was negotiated to support islanders wishing to travel at short notice. Cars cannot turn up and go unless (at CalMac’s discretion) it is determined there is capacity on the car deck after foot passengers are boarded. In short, cars should book in advance to be certain of travel. The AFC has requested that the area operations manager (Clyde) will undertake to review this matter.