CONSERVATIVE councillors have called for a complete overhaul of the management structure of local ferry services.

Group leader Councillor Tom Marshall addressed last week’s council meeting on behalf of his colleague Timothy Billings, who was unable to attend – because the ferry was off.

He said: “If anyone passes up through Port Glasgow they will see the new Arran ferry sitting there. It has been sitting there for the last year, nothing much is happening.

“It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of dissatisfaction on the islanders regarding the state of CalMac and its inability to operate a ferry service.

“This idea that road equivalent tariff, RTA, has increased the traffic to such an event that most of the services find it very hard to cope.

“CalMac just cannot run a decent service because they don’t have any spare boats.”

Highlighting the “significant numbers of delays and cancellations due to technical issues”, Councillor Marshall urged the council leader to suggest to the Transport Minister “a complete overhaul of how the management structure of the ferry services works”.

Council Leader Joe Cullinane replied that NAC had “played a pivotal role” in securing investment into Brodick and Ardrossan Harbours and that it continued to work in partnership with agencies, Transport Scotland and the private sector.

He added: “The Rural Economy and Connectivity Commission (RECC) is currently considering the future funding for Clyde and Hebrides ferry services as part of its scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s budget. The consultation process which ended on September 7 aimed to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to express their opinions on the level of investment that should be made to support these ferry services in future years.

“The Cabinet approved a response to the consultation on September 4 which has been submitted. However, there is an opportunity to request that the RECC consider a review the management structure of the ferry services, review of the Ferries Plan, and review of the Vessel Replacement and Deployment Plan.”