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Author: Rebecca Gibson/20 May 2016/Categories: News, Ferry news
CalMac Ferries Limited has secured a £900 million contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) network in Scotland for the next eight years.
State-owned CalMac already operates the west coast routes and beat private firm Serco Caledonian Ferries Limited to win the tender, which was awarded by the Scottish government. The contract cover an eight-year period from 1 October 2016.
CalMac’s bid makes almost 350 commitments to improve the service, aiming to help drive economic growth, improve customer service and deliver value for money. Proposals include a £6 million investment in vessel and port improvements, the introduction of smart and integrated ticketing systems on key routes, and a goal of increasing passenger/vehicle traffic by 10% and commercial traffic by 12% over the course of the contract.
In addition, CalMac will provide more opportunities for local employment, including more apprenticeships, a new director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement post and a Communities Board to better involve communities in investment and services decisions. The company will retain its head office in Gourock, while all existing routes and services will continue to operate as they do now.
“CalMac has a long and proud tradition of running the Clyde and Hebrides routes, and the company is woven into the fabric of the communities it serves,” said Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland. “Its tender offers a good deal for those communities served by these vital transport links and ensures that we can maximise the opportunities to support and nurture our island economies. CalMac will better manage demand to drive an increase in traffic, as well as make the ferry services more attractive with the introduction of smart ticketing on key routes.”
Sturgeon added that Scottish Ministers will retain control of all of ‘important issues’, such as fares and timetables, through the public service contract, while vessels and port infrastructure will also remain publicly owned as now.
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