Today we are publishing the results of our survey on the proposed ‘Samso System’ of ferry ticket sales. More than 700 respondents from Mull and Iona completed our online survey, with an overwhelming 95% in support. Thank you to everyone who took part!
The ‘Samso System’ is modelled on arrangements used on the Danish island of Samso that ensure island residents get equal access to ferry space. The Samso ferry company reserves car deck space on every sailing that can only be pre-sold to island residents (or other essential regular users from the mainland like GPs and delivery drivers). They adjust the amount of space reserved for islanders on each sailing, using past carrying data as a guide.
This increases the likelihood that islanders will be able to buy a vehicle ticket on the sailing of their choice, and helps to make ticket availability more equal, regardless of whether you have booked your ticket months in advance for a holiday; or days in advance for a shopping trip.
The idea has gained traction on other islands too – Arran Ferry Action Group ran an identical survey, and they returned support of 96%. Below you can read the results of both surveys, published in collaboration with AFAG.
Coll have also canvassed islanders on the proposal and found overwhelming support there, also of 96%. Tiree have plans to hold a similar survey too.
We took advantage of a meeting with CalMac’s Managing and Operations Directors last week to ask if they could implement such a policy using their new IT system due for roll-out later this year. They confirmed that they could. Because the current first-come-first-served sales policy is set in CalMac’s contract, it is up to government to make any changes. With this convincing mandate from islanders, we have written to Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth. We’ve asked her to instruct CalMac to implement the scheme on the Craignure-Oban route (and others as appropriate) on a trial basis for testing and refinement ahead of wider roll-out. We look forward to hearing her response…