Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 21:44 Written by Gordon Neish Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:19
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Gordon Ross, Managing Director of Dunoon company Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd, today (Tuesday) announced that, from March 25, the company will increase the number of early morning sailings. He also announced that most fares on the route will rise from April 1.
The new timetable will see the three-vessel service commence from 7am on weekdays. There will now be 7am, 7.20am and 7.40am departures from Hunter’s Quay. The corresponding departures from McInroy’s Point will be 7.30am, 7.50am and 8.10am.
Thereafter the three vessel service will continue through to 6pm Monday to Thursday. The four vessel service will continue to operate as normal on Fridays and will commence from 10am on Saturdays.
Western has also confirmed there would be no fare increase for people travelling under the SPT Ferry Concessionary scheme, despite the amount of compensation received from SPT being reduced.
Western Ferries is the only ferry operator to waive the 90p single and the £1.30 return fare payable by SPT card holders. This, therefore, allows those with concessionary cards to continue to take advantage of free passage as foot or car passengers. Customers who have a National Entitlement Card for the blind or partially sighted will also be able to travel for free as a passenger.
Commenting on this announcement, Gordon Ross said: “These additional early morning sailings have been introduced to reflect a change in our commuters’ preferences, as it would seem that they now want to leave Dunoon slightly earlier than they did before.
“This additional morning capacity will be further augmented in late August following the arrival of the new vessels.
“The construction of the vessels is progressing well and they should both be in service before the Cowal Games’ weekend. They will be faster and larger than the vessels they are replacing; thereby ensuring that Western Ferries’ service will continue to provide the capacity required to satisfy the needs of the community. These vessels will have modern passenger accommodation designed to provide easy access and facilities for disabled passengers. This will mean that once they are in service all four of the company’s vessels will have disabled toilet provision.”
Mr Ross continued: “In relation to fares, Western Ferries is pleased that, despite the increased costs associated with providing its service, fare increases have been kept roughly in line with inflation, therefore continuing its policy of minimising fare increases.
“In fact, notwithstanding this increase, our passenger fares still represent the cheapest travel option for car and foot passengers. Western Ferries’ is also very proud to continue its policy of providing free travel to those with SPT concessionary cards.”
Mr Ross concluded: “Western Ferries’ timetable improvements, fare levels, free SPT travel and the investment in new vessels are all being delivered without any direct subsidy payments from the Scottish Government.”