Teams at Caledonian MacBrayne have been rewarded for their efforts with three shortlisted nominations for the Scottish Transport Awards.
The awards, which will be held on June 16 in Glasgow, recognise exceptional endeavour and commitment across the transport sector within a wide range of categories.
Caledonian MacBrayne has been shortlisted as Public Transport Operator of the Year, in the category of Excellence in Innovation and Technology and for Frontline Employee of the Year.
The Frontline Employee of the Year nomination recognises the dedicated work of 23-year-old customer services Demi Wylie in the face of a difficult period of industrial action last year.
With much disruption across the network expected, Demi became aware of seven island weddings which were in jeopardy and seven pairs of very distressed brides and grooms.
She took it upon herself and a small team to become the single liaison point for all those involved and skilfully worked with the couples to make sure their special days were not derailed.
Her interventions, determination, perseverance and tireless hard work paid off in some very difficult circumstances – all travel plans for more than 600 guests were examined and alternative arrangements put in place to ensure that each happy couple’s special day was able to go ahead without a hitch. She spent hours talking to the brides and grooms, reassuring them, working with them and understanding their issues. And, once she had put all the logistical arrangements in place, she and her team also found time to source extra special gifts for each couple with handmade products from the island they had chosen for their wedding.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the company, a team of technical staff, led by project manager John Gray, has been implementing a high-tech system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on board all 10 of CalMac’s major vessels.
Known as Project Ecoship, the installation of fuel monitoring systems on the large ships is expected to reduce the release of harmful gases by a target of two per cent – equivalent to 1,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, 4,285,714 miles driven by an average passenger car, or 645 tonnes of waste sent to landfill.
CalMac is the first ferry company in the UK to implement this over a major part of its fleet.
For this visionary approach, the company has received its Excellence in Innovation and Technology nod.
Caledonian MacBrayne operates the UK’s largest ferry network, carrying 4.3 million people, 1.1 million cars and 87,000 commercial vehicles in 2015 alone, with technical reliability and punctuality of 99.6 per cent and 99.7 per cent across more than 135,000 individual sailings.
The customer services department, which dealt with more than 300,000 calls and replied to 20,000 emails in the 12 month period and also tweeted 36,500 service updates since September 2014, gained the Contact Centre Award.
CalMac became the first ever winner of Best Ferry Company at The Independent Travel Awards, and also the first Creative Business Award at the Arts and Business Scotland Awards and gained an International Safety Award for operations on board MV Finlaggan.
Also last year, CalMac became the first ferry company in the UK and first transport operator in Scotland to gain Living Wage Foundation’s Accreditation (not to be confused with the government’s national minimum wage), committing to dignified fair pay for its employees and primary contractors, and is also a signatory to the Scottish Government’s Business Pledge.
It was a busy and productive year with many highs and one or two difficult lows, but the combination of innovation, resilience, leading by example, creativity and much more led to CalMac’s shortlisting for Public Transport Operator of the Year.
“I couldn’t be more proud of CalMac staff right across the network,” said Managing Director Martin Dorchester.
“All of these nominations, whether for an individual or a small team, recognise significant work and support across all areas of the business and we are lucky to have exceptional people who always rise to the occasion.
“Despite some difficult times last year, as well as uncertainty in light of the tender process for the new Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract, CalMac’s people have remained stalwarts throughout – I thoroughly commend and thank them all.”