Islanders slam ferry services, but praise staff

SCOTLAND’S ferry services are falling “well below” the public’s expectations, according to the Scottish Parliament.

Nearly 400 individuals and groups responsed to a survey run by Holyrood’s Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee.

The results, published today, revealed anger at “short-notice service cancellations and the impact this is having on many aspects of life in island and remote rural communities”.

But the committee’s inquiry added: “Members of the public and stakeholder respondents were keen, however, to praise the efforts of frontline ferry staff who they said often worked in challenging conditions and with ageing vessels and infrastructure.”

The committee’s inquiry began in June, in the wake of two new ferries being late and overbudget.

“Some respondents argued for the procurement of a standardised fleet – possibly consisting of standard small, medium, and large vessels – which should be cheaper to buy and operate,” the committee said.

“Some also argued that consideration should be given to the use of catamarans on appropriate routes, rather than traditional monohull designs.”

Early next year, the committee will take evidence from transport secretary Michael Matheson and international ferry operators.

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