Discussions with Transport Secretary Graeme Day about disruption to Scotland’s island ferries were “useful and productive”, the MSP for the Western Isles has said.
Alasdair Allan joined two of his SNP colleagues, Argyll and Bute MSP Jenni Minto and Cunninghame North MSP Kenny Gibson at the meeting with the newly appointed minister earlier today.
He described ferries to island communities as “unreliable and unavailable”, adding that the issues were impacting areas including healthcare, construction and food delivery.
Caledonian MacBrayne ferries have stopped taking bookings until June 8, and the loss of the fleet’s main vessel means that both tourists and islanders are having to take alternate ferries.
Mr Allan said: “This was a useful and productive meeting.
“I made it abundantly clear to the minister the strength of feeling that exists across the islands about the current unacceptable situation with regard to ferries.
“The minister confirmed that the Scottish Government is in discussions regarding the leasing of an additional vessel, which I very much welcome.”
The expected increase in the number of tourists flocking to the islands through the summer season is expected to pose further problems.
☎️ We are currently experiencing high call volumes. For bookings and enquiries, please refer to our website where possible: https://t.co/Ro5ETL7bYn. We appreciate your patience at this time⚠️ pic.twitter.com/6Xp6O4Bp9F
— CalMac Ferries (@CalMacFerries) May 22, 2021
With capacity on the ferries filling up, or already unavailable, the issue has started to impact flights too. Both essential and non-essential travel is becoming increasingly difficult as a result.
Transport Scotland is considering what it should do next to address the problems.
Mr Allan added: “I will also be raising these issues in the Scottish Parliament when it meets tomorrow afternoon.”