Things can only get better

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As the old Labour Party anthem once triumphed: ‘Things can only get better.’

And that, if anything, can only be true for the Arran ferry service. The pandemic, the ageing ferries breaking down, the ports and the weather have all contrived to make the service at present the worst in living memory.

So at least the CalMac managing director on whose shoulders much – if not all – of the responsibility must fall has been on Arran to say sorry. And, most importantly, he has promised improvements and change.

More staff and resources for the customer support centre in Gourock and a return to normal working for all departments next month is to be welcomed but, as the ferry committee argue, more also needs to be done to help customers in Brodick.

Requests were repeated at the meeting to CalMac bosses for improvements in the handling of backlogged traffic and poor communications during incidents and information was provided to support recent examples of customers’ frustrations at cancellations and rescheduled sailings.

What is needed now is action and more pressure must be applied today when the Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey visits Arran for the first time to see the scale of the problems for himself.

But for now the emphasis must be to get the service back up and running to an acceptable standard or we are in for a long winter.