Elected members last week (Thursday 25th June) agreed that the current Transport Scotland operated passenger ferry service between Dunoon and Gourock town centres is not suitable and needs to be enhanced.
The process for re-tendering this service is due to commence soon and, as a key stakeholder, the council has been consulted on the procurement variables. An official response will be provided to Transport Scotland which reaffirms the council’s position and seeks to maximise the chances of a passenger/vehicle ferry service being put in to operation.
Policy Lead for Transportation, Councillor Alastair MacDougall, welcomed this, saying: ‘’People in Dunoon need a reliable passenger and vehicle ferry that comes into the town centre. This is the busiest crossing in Scotland and deserves a service proportionate to that. The council’s position is clear – we are doing everything that we as a council can do to make this happen, however, it is only the Scottish Government that can deliver a reliable solution.
‘’Transport connectivity, be it by road, sea, air or rail, is vital to the economy of Argyll and Bute. This council has invested millions in our road and marine infrastructure over the past few years, ensuring that our communities stay connected. We share Transport Scotland’s commitment to this service and will be doing everything we can to ensure the approach to procurement gives the best chance of reliable service being secured.’’
Leader of the council, Dunoon Councillor Dick Walsh, said: ‘’The Scottish Government’s stated aim is ‘that there shall be a safe, reliable, frequent commuter ferry service between Dunoon town centre and the rail terminal at Gourock, that carries both vehicles and passengers’, aims that the council fully supports.
‘’People in Dunoon deserve a reliable ferry service. A newer, larger vessel which can accommodate both passengers and vehicles would be much more suitable. It is our hope that we can work in partnership with Transport Scotland to enable the procurement of an acceptable service that meets the needs of people in Dunoon and the wider Cowal area.’’