Summer timetables 2023 – what should change?

We are looking for your views on the summer timetables, so that we can feed back to CalMac and Transport Scotland. We have a bit more time for these than we did for the (as yet unpublished!) winter timetables. Please comment below, contact any committee member or email us if you have anything to suggest for ANY Mull and Iona summer timetable, not just Craignure-Oban.

Here are the key things we want to change / investigate (feel free to comment on these ideas too!)

  • Fix public transport connections in Oban so all have 15 minutes transfer time as a minimum
  • Get the MV Isle of Mull operating to 45 minute crossing time, 15 minute turnaround where-ever possible to improve timings and connections.
  • Find opportunities for additional sailings by the Loch Frisa.
  • Look at opportunities to lengthen the sailing day and increase frequency of the Lochaline ferry, perhaps by utilising the unused hours of Loch Frisa crew.

You may have other suggestions – so get in touch! PLEASE DO SO BY NOVEMBER 13th at the latest. See copies of the current summer timetables below for reference.

Crewing Regimes

Also whilst we are here – we have a produced a discussion paper looking at the pros and cons of shore-based versus live-aboard crewing regimes, prompted by a paper on the topic released by CalMac. We have added it to our MV Isle of Mull replacement page here, as well as sending it to everyone relevant in CalMac, Transport Scotland and beyond. If you have thoughts on this important topic, please tell us!

10 thoughts on “Summer timetables 2023 – what should change?

  1. As an irregular user I do not feel it competent to comment on the timetable.
    The references in the article about the CalMac defence of the Status Quo regarding liveaboard crewing is however worthy of comment and a much wider discussion as it is essentially a product of the poor/no strategic thinking by the TS/CMAL/CalMac triumvirate.
    The smaller Loch class are all relatively similar and CalMac have recognised the advantages of this in crew flexibility. They also admit they have a whole range of different larger ships and ports due to poor long term planning leading to the expensive and low quality service that is currently being provided. It is almost laughable for CalMac to suggest they need liveaboard crew to allow for redeployment which is caused by breakdowns of the fleet they are themselves responsible for.
    It should not have come as a surprise that islands with no locally based crew don’t have a ready supply of suitable crew! To suggest this as a reason for not doing something is incredibly short sighted. There would need to be a true commitment to island communities and the short term cost of training apprentices from the islands which would become self-sustaining once the strategy had become well established.
    Various groups have suggested the deployment of a larger fleet of smaller (but still large) vessels to replace the current inappropriate behemoths. These would be built to a standard design and even different sizes of vessels could be operated by common crews. Boeing managed this with the 757 and 767 being very different sizes but pilots had dual licences for both types.
    The larger scale of slightly smaller vessels would allow crews to live at home but offer a better service and have the inbuilt resilience of multiple vessels on a single route.

    1. Low quality service??!!! Just get yer self to……..

  2. Karina B. Alexander 27th October 2022 — 10:23 pm

    There should also be a bus schedule as an option. For the sailings that are too short, a bus might be an option.

  3. Sensible connections for all other public transport, priority booking for islanders.

  4. Plenty of sailings on and off the island. As for the train connections, you can at least catch an earlier ferry (maybe just move the “connection ” to the earlier sailing).
    Personally, as pensioners, we would like a ferry that catches the first BUS to Glasgow so as to get a full day out without an overnight stay.
    Otherwise we are very well served on Mull

  5. Fully support the committee comments above, and the key means of gaining suitable : more robust public transport connections seems to be persuading CalMac to go back to previously operated timings/turnarounds for the Isle of Mull.

  6. On the question of if crew should be onboard or shore based, I fully support the committee pushing for a full debate/review of the options on connection with the decision on replacing the IOM: whatever decision is made will determine the working patterns & cost base of the service for the next 30 years, so an answer that is fit for this century and future work /life balance expectations of staff (and not those of previous centuries) needs to be found.

  7. A longer working day for both ferries to and from Oban in high season would alleviate booking issues, perhaps with reduced fares to encourage tourists (who could travel at less convenient times) to be taken on those sailings whilst not overloading the Mull road network all at once. I know induced demand could likely mean these sailings are increasingly filled but this would be a good short term solution.

    The medium term goal should be two Clansman sized vessels, maybe similar in design (but not built by the SG at Fergusons) as the Glex Sannox to add a level of standardisation which would help with system resilience over the whole CalMac network.

    As a regular user of the North Channel ferries to Northern Ireland there are benefits (to the owners) of ship based crews (especially if you flag your ship to the Bahamas – looking at you P&O). For employment of locals on shore crews will surely make working for CalMac more attractive?

  8. Some one mentioned reducing the fares well we go twice a year and think it’s very cheap already Car 2 people dog £45 that’s very reasonable.
    I do think the islanders should get a discount don’t know if they all ready do so don’t shoot me.
    I think the could actually put the dares up but not for the smaller ones.
    Just my opinion

  9. Priority booking for Island residents. Totally fed up of not being able to book a ferry when you need one. Having to plan the simplest of journeys so far ahead can be quite exhausting.

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