Scottish ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries has unveiled ambitious plans to transform west coast services in a new contract beginning on October 1 for up to eight years.
The company, announced as the successful bidder for the Clyde and Hebrides ferry services tender in May, signed the contract with Transport Scotland last week following the finalisation of legal agreements.
Managing director, Martin Dorchester, said the winning bid was rooted in ambitious plans to drive improvements which will transform the experience of ferry travellers, exemplify customer focus, and show the company’s determination to make a positive difference to the communities.
He said: “The new contract marks the start of a new era in ferry services on the west coast which we are delighted to be introducing.
“The last nine years have seen significant improvements to ferry services and we look forward to building on this work by taking our services, and the benefits they offer to our customers and the communities we serve, up to a new level.
“Our bid was based on key themes, including retaining safety at the heart of our operation, a sustainable long term reduction in subsidy through improving operational efficiency and revenue growth, and enhancing our service to offer even higher levels of customer satisfaction and community engagement.
“We recognise the importance of ferry services in developing sustainable communities, driving economic growth and enabling island and rural companies to do business with the rest of the world.
“We also have an enduring commitment to improving environmental sustainability and are a socially responsible employer which values and invests in our staff. We are proud to be a living wage employer and have signed up to the Scottish government’s business pledge”
The planned innovations, most of which will be put in place in the first two years of the contract, include maximising opportunities for local companies and social enterprises, to tender for supply contracts.
Smart and integrated ticketing is planned together with £6 million-worth of improvements on board ferries and in ports.
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