New era for ferry services is unveiled

CalMac Ferries Ltd has gone public for the first time with its plans to transform west coast ferry services in a new contract beginning on 1 October for up to eight years.

The company, which was announced as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services tender in May, signed the contract with Transport Scotland on August 22 following the finalisation of legal agreements.

The planned innovations, most of which will be put in place in the first two years of the contract, include:

Maximising opportunities for local companies, supported businesses (where 30% of staff are disabled or disadvantaged) and social enterprises, to tender for supply contracts.

Create a Communities Board to involve communities in strategic matters that affect them. An innovative approach to smart and integrated ticketing to provide improved choice and convenience.

Continued investment in Officer Cadets and rating apprenticeships and partnering with local maritime training organisations to a qualified and skilled workforce.

Work in partnership with shipyards to plan long-term maintenance activities to minimise reactive maintenance.

Investing £6m in on-board and port and passenger area improvements including signage, upgraded restaurant and retail outlets, piloting an ‘at seat’ drinks trolley service, and digital information screens.

Daily demand forecasting and conditions to discourage late cancelations and no shows.