Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) has confirmed it is to introduce additional sailings this summer on some of its busiest routes into and out of the Western Isles.
The sailings are being introduced to increase capacity on the route in the Summer and come into effect from Friday, June 29, 2012 and run for the remainder of the Summer timetable.
Under the proposals an additional return sailing will operate between Uig and Lochmaddy on a Friday, and an additional service will operate between Uig and Tarbert, Harris on Sundays. CalMac Managing Director Martin Dorchester said: “We are delighted to have been able to respond to demand from local communities to increase capacity on these popular routes which were frequently booked well in advance on peak sailings making it difficult for tourists and islanders alike to get the sailings they needed. As a result of the consultation process, as required by the terms of our contract with the Scottish Government, we have also been able to refine our initial proposal to accommodate a bus connection in Skye.”
He added: ”We received 75 responses to the consultation, the majority of which were in favour of the new sailings, confirming our view that there was a sufficient demand in the islands to justify these services.”
The additional sailings are a late return sailing from Lochmaddy on a Friday ie:
Dep Lochmaddy 2000hrs Arr Uig 2145hrs
Dep Uig 2200hrs Arr Lochmaddy 2345hrs
And on a Sunday an additional sailing will operate into and out of Tarbert, Harris:
Dep Uig 1415hrs Arr Tarbert 1555hrs
Dep Tarbert 1615hrs Arr Uig 1755hrs
This has been put back by 55 minutes from the original proposal to take advantage of a bus connection in Skye.
Transport and Housing Minister Keith Brown, said: ”The Scottish Government is committed to delivering ferry services across the network which meet the needs of local communities to travel to and from the mainland, as well as encourage more visitors to our islands. Following feedback from local communities, I’m delighted a solution has been found by CalMac which provides extra capacity and more travel options to support this ambition.”