Islanders say that new rules being consulted upon by CalMac will mean if you miss a ferry you will be out of pocket.
Mull and Iona Ferry Committee say a £10 charge will be charged to motorists who book a slot on the network, but don’t turn up for the trip, and want to change a booking.
For decades, ferry users have complained that ferries are running with empty spaces due to overbooking by tourists and business who hedge their bets on which ferry they will catch, with no penalty.
But with rising costs and an ever increasing demand on the service, CalMac are said to have discussed the introduction of the fee at a consultation with Mull and Iona Ferry Committee.
A spokesman for the ferry committee said: “In a meeting with CalMac management this week, the company’s proposed ticket cancellation charges were discussed.
“We firmly rejected the proposals as punitive, unjust, misguided, disproportionate and damaging to the islands.
“The manner of the proposal was also completely contrary to the Islands Act.”
The islands act protects in law the rights of islanders not be treated unfairly due to where they live.
The group continued: “CalMac had proposed to levy a charge of £10 for making vehicle reservation changes, and in addition, passengers would forfeit up to 100% of the ticket value should they change plans and travel on a different sailing to that originally intended.”
In response to complaints
CalMac has been invited to comment.
Previously the ferry operator said: “These proposals are a response to complaints from communities about ferries appearing to be fully booked but then sailing with unused spaces.
“It is standard practice for transport providers to discourage passengers from cancelling a booking at the last minute by charging a late cancellation fee.
“Demand is growing every year for our services and it is important that we seek the views of communities on how we maximise the number of spaces available for our customers.
“Our aim is to encourage people to stop making multiple reservations, then cancel the ones they no longer require at late notice, often too late for us to reallocate the space. More rigorous application of our Terms and Conditions is an essential step in better managing deck space.”
The operator said feedback from all eight ferry committees would be collated and published in June 2022.