CalMac announces new routes for winter timetable

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Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne is launching new routes among other amendments to its winter timetable.

Overall there are more than a dozen changes made to the timetable for 2016/17 after feedback on proposals from communities.

The biggest improvements are a new dedicated Barra to Oban route and major changes to services from South Uist to the mainland.

To improve reliability on services to Lochboisdale, South Uist, CalMac plans to run a single sailing per day, three times a week to Mallaig and two services per week to Oban.

“We recognise that there has been real community concerns about the weather related reliability on the Lochboisdale Mallaig route in previous winters. After listening to the community on South Uist we have come up with a solution that we are confident will increase overall resilience.

“Altering the service to one sailing per day will give us more flexibility in adverse weather increasing overall reliability to Mallaig, while offering two sailings per week to Oban gives people extended travel options,” said CalMac’s operations director, Drew Collier.

Other changes include:

A new 0820 Sunday morning service from Brodick to Ardrossan

Addition of a 0815 service from Largs and a 0830 from Cumbrae on Sunday mornings

Changes to the Gigha service to allow better onward bus connections

New request only Sunday sailing at 0845 from Fionnphort and 0900 from Iona

Amendments to afternoon sailings Tobermory Kilchoan to improve connectivity with school bus services.

“As always balancing the timetable needs of the communities we serve is always a challenge within the resources that we have, but we have tried where possible to take into account community views to provide the type of services that will best suit their needs,” added Drew

Ongoing discussions with the Sleat Transport Forum mean winter sailings on the Mallaig Armadale route have still to be finalised.

Details of the timetable can be found at: website