Working to improve ferry connections

Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has said she is pleased to be advised by CalMac that they will be making efforts to improve the integrated timetabling between Lochboisdale-Mallaig sailings and relevant onward travel connections in next year’s summer timetable.

This follows Mrs Grant having again raised the matter with the Scottish Government.

Concerns were first raised with the MSP when the summer timetable was being proposed for the Lochboisdale-Mallaig sailings with many people, including HITRANS, raising concerns that there was a lack of integration with connecting trains to and from Glasgow.

These concerns were borne out this summer and led to a number of passengers complaining to Mrs Grant that they had lengthy waits in Fort William for onward rail connections to Glasgow.

Following Mrs Grant’s earlier intervention, some amendment had been made to bus scheduling from Mallaig to Fort William but this did nothing to resolve integration with the onward rail connections to Glasgow.

Mrs Grant said: “People are rightly pleased that there are now summer sailings on the route and campaigned hard for these.

“Onward travel connections however had not been properly considered and I pointed this out to the Scottish Government and asked for a co-ordinated approach to be implemented.

“I am pleased therefore to be advised by CalMac that they are well aware of the issues experienced this summer and that they are now making efforts to improve integration for next year’s summer timetable which will involve discussions with the relevant transport providers.”

Mrs Grant continued: “Again, concerns are being raised with me about onward bus connections from the Stornoway-Ullapool sailing and I will be taking this up once more with the Scottish Government and transport providers.

“We need to see better integration of public transport throughout Scotland but this is particularly true in the Highlands and Islands.”