The feedback we have received from the community to CalMac’s proposed winter timetables has been very strong. Whilst the two-vessel timetable has many advantages over previous winters, the periods where it is proposed that the Loch Frisa operates on her own give a completely inadequate service, both in terms of capacity and connectivity.
We met with CalMac officials on Friday, where we were told that no significant changes could be offered (aside from an additional sailing on Sundays). It is completely unacceptable that our communities have been presented with such a poor timetable so late in the day. We have made our views known to both CalMac and the Transport Minister. It appears that the Minister has approved proposals to alleviate the impact of the Uig port closure (partly by re-deploying the MV Isle of Mull), without being made aware of the impact that would have on Mull and Iona.
It is clear that the Loch Frisa is incapable of delivering a service to Mull on her own at any time – she is simply too slow and too small. CalMac have been provided with a vessel that completely fails to meet the requirements of the route. CMAL are to blame for that poor choice. It is compounded by CMAL’s earlier decision to obstruct the purchase of the Mull Catamaran that could have delivered a far superior service.
We are insisting that the single-vessel Loch Frisa timetable is not introduced, and that a two vessel service is in place uninterrupted for the whole winter.