Yesterday the MV Finlaggan left the Islay Service for her annual dry dock service after sailing the Kennacraig to Islay route as single vessel during January and February. From today onwards the MV Hebrides and the MV Isle of Arran will be taking over the service which means that the ferry service is back on a two vessel service. The Finlaggan will return at the end of March shortly after which another change to the timetable will take place as Port Ellen will be closed for several weeks due to link span works.
In the meanwhile Calmac has submitted their bid for the £1bn Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract. CalMac, which is synonymous with ferry services on the west coast of Scotland, is the current operator of the routes under a contract with Scottish Ministers. The current contract expires in September and the Scottish Government’s transport agency, Transport Scotland, has been running a competitive process to select a provider of the services from 1st October 2016, for a period of up to eight years. Earlier the upcoming ferry tender was a reason for the RMT union to strike around Easter last year. continue reading....
The other bidder, Serco, has submitted their bid as well. Jonathan Riley, Serco bid director for Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS), said: "After two years of eating, sleeping and breathing CHFS I am delighted to confirm that we have submitted our communities-led ferries proposal. My team have put their hearts and souls into this."
Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac Ferries Ltd, said: “I believe the bid we submitted last week is an outstanding piece of work and makes a compelling case for CalMac to win this hugely important contract. I’m confident we will be the clear winner when a decision is reached in May and, if so, I’m determined that we’ll deliver our best service levels yet.