Ferry operator CalMac is asking passengers to be more considerate after an increase in abuse aimed at frontline staff managing the service.

With Scottish Government social distancing rules in place, capacity on all of CalMac’s ferries has been vastly reduced.

This comes on top of ferry travel recently being open for more categories of traveller and has led to some passengers venting their anger at staff when they can’t travel.

“Abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said CalMac’s Area Manager (Clyde), Tommy Gore.

“Our staff are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances and should be applauded for the key workers that they are. We understand it can be frustrating to be told that you are unable to travel but staff have to follow the rules and regulations that are in place to keep us all safe. Some of them have been subjected to increasing levels of verbal abuse as a result of doing their job. We take a zero-tolerance approach to this and will not hesitate to contact the police if our staff feel threatened.”

Travel to the islands is not yet open for leisure or recreation but passengers can travel to meet friends and family, as per Scottish Government guidelines.

Tommy added: “This is only a minority of people causing the problem, but we would like to encourage all passengers to think about whether their journey is meeting the guidelines set by the Scottish Government.

“We are still working to a reduced timetable with very limited spaces, and people thinking about travelling should consider that they might be taking a space away from an essential worker or island resident.”

CalMac is currently working with Transport Scotland on a new timetable that will increase sailings to reflect the change in travel guidance and the added demand this is likely to bring.

Details of this new timetable will be announced shortly.