Ferries April Round up
Everything is of course dominated by Coronavirus right now, and the impact on Scottish ferry services has been profound. We as a committee have been in the unusual position of negotiating reduction in services, and most discussions have been around how few sailings we can get by with.
The emergency timetables remain in effect, and have been confirmed in place until May 7th at least. Traffic on all routes serving Mull is dramatically reduced. Days that last year would have seen 1,500 passengers shipped are now typically seeing around 40 – 50 on a week day. General carryings are around 96% down, and are staying down.
The use of Oban-Craignure services on Sundays was so low (3 cars for the entirety of Easter Sunday) that continuing with them was obviously unnecessary and wasteful. After consulting with as many retailers of Sunday papers as possible, it was agreed with CalMac that Sunday sailings could be dropped. This further reduction in service also helped to send the ‘message’ that Mull and Iona are currently closed to tourist traffic.
Many people’s concerns right now are focused on unnecessary travel in both directions. Rest assured that whilst you may occasionally see an unfamiliar car, the number of passenger movements on and off the island are very low and show no trend of increasing. Movements on and off the island are equivalent to around 25 return passengers. That’s the same as 0.8% of the Mull population, so the island has pretty much achieved isolation from the rest of the country.