CalMac has announced temporary changes to its ferry timetables due to Covid related staff absences.
Starting from Monday, January 3, CalMac will be running a reduced timetable as it is unable to maintain usual service with the number of staff who are having to self-isolate.
The latest figures show that 93 crew and 18 port staff are unavailable as they have tested positive, have been identified as close contacts or are awaiting PCR results.
Timetable changes will be reviewed on a weekly basis, but travellers are advised they will last until at least January 23.
Changes will enable CalMac to continue providing lifeline services to those who need them.
Managing director Robbie Drummond, said they had been hit hard by the virus.
He said: “Over the past week the number of Covid-related absences amongst vessel crew has increased by 166%, from 35 on Christmas Eve to 93 today. Covid absences amongst port staff have risen by one third over the same period.
“The loss of such large numbers of staff makes it necessary for us to take immediate action to try and preserve essential services to communities.
“We fully appreciate the difficulties these changes will cause for some of our customers, and we apologise for any disruption that may result. However, because this situation is changing rapidly, we must protect core services, which is why we are now having to introduce this temporary timetable.”
Which services will be affected?
The routes that will be affected by the timetable change are as follows:
Oban to Coll to Tiree: Sunday is being removed from the timetable, otherwise operates as published
Oban to Colonsay: Wednesday service removed from the timetable, otherwise operates as published
Kennacraig to Islay: Single vessel timetable MV Finlaggan as normal
Wemyss Bay to Rothesay: Single vessel timetable
Ardrossan to Brodick: Published two vessel timetable January 2-4 then single vessel MV HebIsles January 5-22
Colintraive to Rhubodach: Half hourly timetable
Largs to Cumbrae: Reduced timetable
Gourock to Dunoon: Reduced timetable
Gourock to Kilcreggan: Reduced timetable
Tarbert to Portavadie: Combined Tarbert to Portavadie and Tarbert to Lochranza service
Mallaig to Lochboisdale: Cancelled
CalMac has advised passengers to double check before heading to the ferry as services can be cancelled at last minute.
Full timetable changes can be found on the CalMac website.