CalMac insist they can take foot passengers in July, but space is severely restricted
CalMac have insisted have insisted that they are able to take foot passengers in July on the Stornoway to Ullapool route, but that spaces are severely restricted.
It comes after the Gazette reported problems that some regular travellers have been told that bookings for foot passengers cannot be accepted on some weekends due to the Loch Seaforth being full to capacity.
The latest twist has led to calls for a proportion of space to be reserved for workers in both directions and a review of restrictions on the number of foot passengers.
CalMac are operating to around 30 per cent passenger capacity, due to social distancing restrictions, and that is mainly taken up by tourists.
Fiona Galbraith, Area Operations Manager for the Hebrides, said: “Please be assured that we do have spaces available at weekends during July. However, ongoing covid restrictions have meant that unfortunately, the number of spaces available to book have been reduced in order to comply with government guidelines on phsyical distancing. This applies across the network and to foot passengers too.
“This is a very unusual situation and we would love to be able to offer more bookings, and as soon as the Scottish Government announce changes to the restrictions, we will comply as soon as possible. We will always try to accommodate people who need to travel so please be patient with our staff as they try to help.”
Iain MacLeod from Ranish, currently working at Nigg in Easter Ross, told the Gazette this week: “My son and I go away on Monday as we are on nightshift and back on Friday mornings. We had been booking travel three weeks in advance to be on the safe side until last Friday when we tried to book ahead again as we do every Friday in Ullapool. When we tried to book the first weekend in July we were told all sailings were full both ways and the same for the following three weekends - just as foot passengers.”
He said that unless resolved, the problem would make it “very difficult” for islanders to work away and be home at weekends.