Passenger numbers on CalMac ferries have dropped by 95 per cent following the introduction of new rules on essential ferry travel in bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The West Coast ferry operator introduced an essential lifeline timetable last week aimed at keeping essential goods, services and people going to and from the islands.

Since then the company has carried just 2,593 passengers compared to 57,233 for the same period last year, with some services running with just a single passenger.

CalMac’s Managing Director, Robbie Drummond, said: “It is hugely encouraging that the public are paying attention to the government advice of do not travel unless your journey is absolutely essential.

“We are fully committed to keeping lifeline services running to the islands we support, bringing in food, fuel and medical supplies and taking off goods vital to keeping local economies running. The vast majority of people are getting that message loud and clear.”

Throughout March, commercial vehicles were also down by 32 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Mr Drummond added: “This has been an extremely challenging time for our staff and our communities, and I want to praise both for the way in which they have handed these unique circumstances.”


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