While we are still waiting for a decision from the new Transport Minister Graeme Dey on Mull’s potential catamaran, plans are proceeding for the longer-term replacement of the MV Isle of Mull. Transport Scotland have begun the long process of planning for the ferry(ies) that will be built to replace our 33-year-old main ferry. It’ll take some years – by the time the new ferries are delivered, the MV Isle of Mull is likely to be close to 40 years old. Over the same period, Craignure pier will be replaced, so by 2027 or thereabouts we could have a completely renewed ferry service to Oban.
The new ferries could be in service through until the 2060s. The decisions made in the next few years will therefore have long-reaching impacts for our islands. Key strategic decisions will be taken very early in the process, and we want to make sure that those decisions are made in the best interests of the users who depend on our lifeline service.
It is essential that users’ needs are paramount in in the process. There is plenty of evidence that the procurement and consultation process for recent new vessels has not delivered the kind of ferries that local users wanted – and we are determined that is not repeated here.
We are therefore working to produce a Specification of User Requirements , which will lay out the priorities and expectations of island users, and guide Transport Scotland toward delivering ferries that truly meet our needs. It is intended to complement the Specification of Operator Requirements that CalMac produce whenever a new ferry is planned. We want to make sure that the users’ voice is heard loud and clear, and the outcome is one that we can have confidence in for the next 30-40 years.
To help us create the Specification of User Requirements, we have set up an online survey. The survey sets out the initial broad principles and objectives we think the new ferries should meet. We need your input to develop, refine and add to it. We want it to reflect the broad community view as fairly as possible. So please go along and complete the survey by clicking on the button below…