ARRAN ferry travellers have shared their continued frustrations with delayed and cancelled transport services.

The Herald reported on Christmas Eve that cancelled ferries between Ardrossan and the island left people stranded over Christmas.

And the delays and cancellations continued into the New Year, with 13 out of 14 sailings on January 2 cancelled.

Reports of people being “abandoned” on the island have been sent to the Herald, with one island resident with a critically ill mother not being able to leave Arran due to the cancellations.

Another ferry user, from Ardrossan, said: “We were booked in the 9.45am from Ardrossan. It was cancelled.

“We were informed that the next sailing was 6pm so chose to go for that and hung about a few hours. It was cancelled too.

“It appears that indeed there was a sailing at 3.20pm. Apparently it wasn’t that busy.

"Literally hundreds of people must have been misinformed today at Ardrossan port.”

A spokesperson for Arran Action Ferry Group, an island-based transport lobbying society, said: “Thanks to CalMac cancellations of booked reservations, we missed Christmas at our home on Arran.

“Because of additional cancellations accompanied by confusion and disarray, we were a day late leaving for medical appointments on the mainland on January 2.

“Latest cancellations bring the cancellation rate for this year to 66 per cent.

“Uncertainty and confusion about ferries are causing residents to miss critical events, and dealing a potentially crippling blow to Arran’s economy.”

The cancellations come after CalMac released a statement last week about a temporary essential services timetable between January 3 and January 23 in order to cope with Covid-related staff absence.

Figures from January 3 show that 93 crew and 18 port staff are unavailable because of Covid-19.

Robbie Drummond, CalMac managing director, said: “Over the past week the number of Covid-related absences amongst vessel crew has increased by 166 per cent per cent, from 35 on Christmas Eve to 93 today.

“Covid absences amongst port staff have risen by one third over the same period.

"The loss of such large numbers of staff makes it necessary for us to take immediate action to try and preserve essential services to communities.

“We fully appreciate the difficulties these changes will cause for some of our customers, and we apologise for any disruption that may result.

“However, because this situation is changing rapidly, we must protect core services, which is why we are now having to introduce this temporary timetable.”