Uist community grills CalMac chief over ferry services

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A meeting on Friday May 11 brought together community representatives in Uist with CalMac’s managing director Robbie Drummond and Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan, who chaired the event.

Ferry services to Uist have recently experienced considerable disruption. During the Easter period the MV Hebrides was taken off the Uig triangle to be replaced by the smaller MV Hebridean Isles, while it was sent south to service Tiree, Coll and Colonsay. This decision was later reversed. The Mallaig – Lochboisdale route has also been cancelled until the end of May.

Dr Allan said: ‘The past few months have not represented CalMac’s finest hour. In term of the problems at Easter in particular, I cannot recall a similar level of confusion and service disruption in my time as MSP for the islands.

‘The meeting on Friday was a useful opportunity to bring senior CalMac management together directly with community representatives.  Communities in Uist made their views abundantly clear that the service they have received in recent months is unacceptable to them.

‘The key point for CalMac to take away is that it urgently needs to get better at communication with island communities and involve them much earlier and more meaningfully in the design of both vessels and services. CalMac undertook to meet again and to keep up contact with community councils and others.’