Do Scotland’s ferries currently meet the needs of the communities they serve? This is one of the questions a Scottish Parliament committee will address as part of its inquiry into Ferry Services in Scotland.
The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee’s Inquiry launched today by inviting members of the public, ferry operators and other stakeholders to pick up a leaflet (available in English and Gaelic) explaining how they can register their views at ferry terminals or on ferries throughout Scotland. Feedback on routes, timetables, fares, funding, and capacity is of special importance to the Committee.
Committee Convener Patrick Harvie MSP said :
“Ferry services are of significant importance to Scotland’s island communities in terms of their economy, tourism and environment. The Committee’s inquiry will look at a wide range of issues such as the cost and availability of ferries and the integration of services with other modes of transport.
“We want to gain first-hand views from all of those with an interest in ferries about how well they meet the needs of users. To increase awareness of the inquiry, leaflets will be distributed at ferry terminals, on vessels and in libraries inviting members of the public and stakeholders to engage with the Committee. Comment can be made interactively on our web pages or by writing to us.”
Committee members will also undertake a series of fact-finding visits and video conferences to engage with ferry users and other interested parties in Lewis, Mallaig, Dunoon and Arran. Public meetings will take place in Oban on 4 March and in Shetland on 28 April to take formal evidence as part of the inquiry.
The Committee is particularly interested in hearing views on:
- Ferry routes – How useful are the current ferry routes and what potential is there for new routes?
- Frequency and timetabling of services – Are ferry services run at times which are convenient to ferry users?
- Capacity – Is there sufficient capacity on routes to meet the requirements of ferry users?
- Integration with other transport modes – How well does this work in practise?
- Competition – How has this affected ferry services?
The public call for written evidence issued today invites all those with an interest to submit their views by Monday 31 March. The Committee aims to publish a report by the end of June 2008.