Islander Priority Pilot delayed until October

The islander prioritisation pilot that was planned for introduction in July on the Craignure-Oban and Coll/Tiree-Oban services has been delayed until the start of the winter timetable in October.

The pilot was intended to hold back 10% of all vehicle spaces until 72 hours before departure, so that those with a short-notice need to travel (mostly islanders) would have a ‘second chance’ of buying a ticket on an otherwise-full sailing. It is intended as a stepping-stone to a more fully-fledged ID-based system similar to that which operates on the Danish island of Samso, which gained overwhelming support from across Mull and Iona a year ago.

It has fallen victim to the large amount of extra work created by the introduction of CalMac’s new E-booking ticketing system, as well as timetable changes resulting from the over-running drydock schedule. Managers and staff in CalMac have to work on those issues as a priority, and therefore have no alternative but to delay the priority pilot.

This is of course very disappointing, but we are confident that the promise given to us by then-Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth last summer to get a trial system in place will be honoured. Everyone we have been working with on this at Transport Scotland and CalMac have been really constructive, and are as disappointed as we are. Like us, they had been looking forward to delivering something positive at a time when all the ferry news is so negative.

We don’t yet know what our winter timetable will look like, and for how much of the time we will be served by only the Loch Frisa. So whilst the benefit of the prioritisation pilot should mostly be felt in the summer, if capacity is limited at times in the winter it may be helpful then too.

We’ll keep you posted.

2 thoughts on “Islander Priority Pilot delayed until October

  1. Surely the <> is a failed technique and an we-will-never-close rotation like the Fire Brigade or or RNLI {Lifeboats} is needed.

    1. Between the should have been drydock schedule.

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