Rumour has it, fuelled by speculation in a local newspaper recently, that CalMac are to be making the Wemyss Bay - Rothesay and the Colintraive - Rhubodach ferry routes bookable.

This suggestion obviously caused a lot of consternation amongst frequent travellers such as commuters, parents of off-island school children and delivery companies, as well as ad-hoc travellers such as those with complex health needs.


CalMac's Response

Concern about the news story was expressed by several parties, including Brendan O'Hara MP, and the following response was received from Robbie Drummond, Managing Director at CalMac Ferries Ltd:

As we discussed with the Bute Ferry Committee and the Ferry Community Board earlier in the year, we are launching a new reservations and ticketing solution across our network in 2022 which will improve the ease of travel for customers and on our larger routes maximise the use of our car deck capacity. It will also enable us to communicate better with customers.

I can reassure you that there is no proposal to make either the Wemyss-Bay – Rothesay or Colintraive-Rhubodach routes bookable. Both routes will operate on a strictly turn up and go basis and the existing sales channels will remain in place. We expect to offer single and return tickets on all of our turn up and go routes from launch. We also expect to offer advance purchase of these tickets for use on a flexible, turn up and go basis. We also anticipate offering a 10-journey product on these two routes.
In the past, some members of the community have asked us to consider making these two routes at least partially bookable. Any such proposal would only be considered in full consultation and we have no current plans to commence such a process.
We will be implementing comprehensive customer communications nearer the time so that everyone is fully aware of what to expect and of course we will have lots of help at hand when we do launch to support and reassure customers.
I am confident the new ticketing system will improve our services and will be welcomed by our customers and communities.