Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, who has worked to persuade the Scottish Government to introduce a daily ferry service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig is frustrated yet again that only just over 40 per cent of the sailings have taken place over the trial period.
She said: “The trial was supposed to take place between 12 November 2013 and 21 December 2013 and as I understand it there were to be 46 schedule sailings. I believe only 26 sailings took place. My frustration is this: The Transport Minister decided to utilise this pilot period to say to the people of South Uist and Eriksay ‘use it or lose it’ with regards to this ferry. I have no complaint that the crossings had to be cancelled in some instances because of bad weather. Passenger and crew safety are paramount. However, anyone on the North West coast or over in the Islands could have told you that this was the wrong time to have such a pilot. How can you expect people to use a ferry service when they don’t know when or if it is running? Why pilot this route at this time of year? Could it be that the Government foresaw that piloting these crossings in the middle of winter would have a low take up rate?”
She continued: “This is a lifeline service. The people of South Uist and Eriksay deserve better, they deserve a daily ferry service to Mallaig and I will do whatever I can to make sure this happens.”