Category Archives: Transport

CalMac Community Consultation on Proposed Terms and Conditions Changes

As many of you will know, CalMac are introducing a new ticketing system this year and hope to also update their Terms and Conditions.

Part of the proposed changes includes a cancellation levy; a measure which is hoped will reduce no-shows by providing an incentive to cancel unneeded reservations early.

Representatives from CalMac (our Area Operations Manager Don McKillop and Alan Hood, head of Customer Experience along with a member of his team) attended last month’s public meeting and made a presentation on these proposals, and also made time to answer questions and concerns from members of the public.

This consultation is a follow-on from that; for anyone who was unable to attend the meeting to make their voices heard. If you would like to submit a digital response to these proposals to TCC, you can do so via SurveyMonkey (click here to open the survey in a new tab).

Anyone wishing to contact CalMac directly can do so by emailing: CFTC.consultation@calmac.co.uk

If you missed the meeting, but would like to view the slides and consultation document, you can do so here:

A New Booking System for CalMac – Ar Turas

As many of you will know, CalMac plans to introduce a new ticketing system this year, dubbed Ar Turas; our journey. Coming into effect this October, these are major changes to the service after using the current system for more than 25 years.

The new system has been used successfully by major ferry organisations across the world including Grimaldi, Scandlines and BC Ferries.

It is hoped that these changes will maximise the way the space on the car deck is used, as well as improving communication with customers.

The Ar Turas (Our Journey) project will revolutionise the way we interact with customers, making travel simpler and easier. 

Tiree Community Council has previously had a representative from CalMac attend one of our meetings to give a presentation on these changes, and we hope to receive further updates as the implementation draws closer. We have been assured that the project will be under ‘constant review’, with a commitment to keeping customers and stakeholders updated as the changes come into effect.

To find out more, and to read the FAQ’s on the project, follow this link to the CalMac website.

 

Consultation on future of Argyll and Bute air services

The Argyll and Bute Council is consulting on local air transport services on the West Coast area, linking Oban, Tiree, Coll, Colonsay and Islay. This consultation will inform the next contract for the service and shall consider issues including:

•            Current use of the air service
•            Preferred flight times and days
•            The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver services

The last item is under active consideration following successful trials of UAVs to deliver supplies during the pandemic, resulting in significant savings for the NHS. Active work is in development to create a UAV Hub at Oban airport, with Royal Mail also interested in the possible applications.

If you would like to respond to the consultation directly, or just find out more, you can do so here: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/consultations/argyll-and-bute-council-west-coast-air-services-pso

TCC will be happy to make a submission on behalf of Tiree constituents, so if you would like to feed in your views to that, please email TCC member Phyl Meyer at phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk

Loganair GreenSkies Programme

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, has today announced its “GreenSkies” environmental programme as it commits to being fully carbon neutral by 2040. It becomes the first UK regional airline to take such an ambitious step towards managing and mitigating the environmental impact of flying.

The GreenSkies initiative encompasses an immediate programme of carbon offsets to remove the same amount of carbon from the environment as that generated from each and every Loganair flight. At the same time, the airline is tackling the long-term goal of introducing sustainable aircraft into its fleet – with live trials taking place in the Orkney Islands this summer on developmental aircraft powered by hydrogen and renewable electricity as the first step to fully converting Loganair’s fleet to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Below are links to two videos outlining the GreensSkies Programme.

Loganair GreenSkies:https://vimeo.com/560455368/39db0959b8

Loganair GreenSkies, Jonathan Hinkles:https://vimeo.com/560820701/399f4feeb4

 

 

Download the below documents for a full overview and FAQ.

Loganair_GreenSkies Q&A document_Prepared by BIG Partnership June 2021 10.06.21 – Loganair goes carbon neutral

 

 

 

 

Representative sought for West Coast Ferry Board

The Ferries Community Board (Clyde and Hebrides) is looking for new members to become voices for people who live in the areas served by ferry operator CalMac.

Members represent communities across the network and act to influence strategic issues such as the building of new vessels, infrastructure, resources and accountability.

Key achievements since the Board was formed in 2017 include the successful lobbying of the Scottish Government to release more funds for a new ticketing system. It has also been instrumental in bringing in service improvements such as the new mobile maintenance team brought in to improve fleet resilience.

Members meet four times a year and have an open dialogue with the Transport Minister, Transport Scotland and Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). They are regularly consulted on national transport strategies.

Having a Tiree representative on this group could be a real benefit for us in ensuring Tiree’s voice is heard on the particular issues we face and needs of our community, and could be supported by TCC and the Tiree Transport Forum.

Details here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/community-board-recruitment?fbclid=IwAR3VFBoPR-lK-eVaUAGT5cROVJnyLXy3wmai8C2QwzamAJB_qM36I0ea9N8

Announcement on Tiree and other islands timetable for easing COVID restrictions – 13th April

From today’s statement by the First Minister, the excerpt relating to island lockdown easing timetable:
 
“Let me say a word now about our island communities.
 
Several of our islands – including Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles – are already in level 3. That partly reflects the fact that they have had lower rates of Covid than the mainland, although there have been outbreaks that again show the need for caution even in our more remote communities and on our islands.
 
I set out previously that we would consult with island communities about whether, from 26 April, they wanted to move down to level 2 – which the data would justify – even though that would necessitate keeping travel restrictions to and from the mainland in place to avoid the risk of cases being imported to and spreading within the islands;
 
Or, alternatively, whether they preferred to stay at level 3 with the rest of the country for a further 3 weeks to enable the lifting of travel restrictions and the opening of tourism and hospitality to visitors.
 
It is fair to say there is no universal opinion here – so I know neither option will please everyone.
 
However, based on the balance of opinion, we have decided on the latter option – aligning islands with the rest of the country for a period so that travel, and therefore parts of the economy that so many islanders rely on, can operate more normally from 26 April.
 
To those who would have preferred to see the islands move to level 2 at the end of April, let me reassure you that we do expect at least a move to level 2 to happen three weeks later on 17 May. So this is not long in the context of what we have been dealing with over the past year, where every day feels like an eternity, but it’s not an unending period of time.
 
In the meantime, as a result of staying in level 3 for a bit longer, it will be possible for islanders and visitors to travel to and from the islands and I know that will make a difference to individuals and businesses on the islands.
 
More generally, we currently expect the whole country to move to at least level 2 on 17 May, to level 1 in early June; and to level 0 in later June.”

Outcome of our recent survey on Tiree’s timetable out of lockdown

Earlier today we sent the following letter to Argyll and Bute Council following our rapid-response survey announced on Friday:

Choice of Level for Tiree

Dear Robin and Pippa,

Following our useful meeting on Friday, Tiree Community Council wanted to gauge the opinion of the community on this matter as best we could in 36 hours. We therefore set up an online poll using SurveyMonkey.

We laid out our understanding of the situation laid out by the Scottish Government, and asked respondents to choose:

  • For Tiree to remain in Level 3, which would allow travel to and from the island, subject to restrictions on indoor meetings, or
  • For Tiree to move to Level 2, which would keep travel restrictions in place for an additional 3 weeks but allow for indoor meetings amongst island residents

Although we used the labels ‘Level 3’ and ‘Level 2’ for ease of reference, we acknowledge that those labels are not quite accurate, that the new arrangements proposed in the new route map are different. This was noted on the web post promoting the survey.

The survey was put together at great speed and using only our own resources. There are obvious methodological weaknesses: for example, a bias towards those using social media and the possibility that respondents could make inaccurate declarations of their place of residence.

However, we are confident it broadly represents the spread and balance of opinion in our community.

Summary:

  • 322 responses, including 273 residents, approximately 50% of the electoral roll
  • Of the residents, 41% want to remain in Level 3 with travel restrictions lifted, while 59% want to move to Level 2 with travel restrictions maintained
  • Even the majority of resident owners of tourism businesses want to move to Level 2 with travel restrictions maintained, albeit the split is more evenly balanced in this group

Many thanks for asking our opinion,

Dr John Holliday, on behalf of Tiree Community Council

You will note that we refer to the fact that what seems to be the likely options on offer to us do not correspond exactly to the former “Level 2” and “Level 3” – but rather that we used those labels as a way of simplifying the survey for people by using familiar terms – it seems we are now moving away from the previous versions of the Levels/Tiers with this new timetable, so the old versions of those levels/tiers do not really apply and things are still very subject to change.

The web post explaining the survey made this clear, although we understand some may (with the benefit of time and hindsight) feel things could have been worded better. All that can be said is that we did the best we could within the speed we felt we had to act and with which the survey was put together – and felt it best to prioritise a simple, intuitive approach.

We are given to understand that there may be further opportunity for (hopefully more thorough, less rushed) consultation on this soon. The results of this survey may not therefore be the final conclusion reached on this issue and we will continue to do our best to engage the community to ensure a representative position is taken going forward.

On a positive note – for the survey to have achieved 322 responses, of which 273 are from island residents (representing about half of the entire electoral roll on the island) in the space of just over 2 days is a remarkable response, of which we should all be proud. Thank you for participating if you were able to.

Thanks to some excellent work by TCC councillor Iona Campbell, please see below a write-up of the full results of the survey.

Result of Urgent Public Consultation on the Isle of Tiree copy

Urgent consultation survey – Tiree route out of lockdown

We have been asked on very short notice for our views in relation to the announcement First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made regarding the planned timetable for easing of restrictions out of lockdown for Scotland – specifically regarding the mention of there being options for islands like ours which have been under slightly more eased restrictions.

We have not been given much clarity on what possible range of options may be available but as best we can determine it seems likely to be a straight choice between two main options.

Background:

According to the timetable for easing restrictions, there is an expectation that we will be allowed to travel freely within Local Authority areas for non-essential purposes (rather than the “stay at home” restrictions operating on the mainland). There will then be a general shift on April 26th which can broadly be thought of as the mainland of Scotland returning to what was called “level 3” – for the most part. At that point up to 6 people from up to 3 households will be allowed to meet outdoors, and up to 4 people from 2 households can socialise indoors in a public place such as a café or restaurant. These are similar to the restrictions Tiree is currently under . However the key difference is that travel will from that point be allowed across mainland Scotland, not just within your Local Authority area – and tourist accommodation will be allowed to resume general operation – i.e. people will be allowed to travel and stay overnight, as long as it is using tourist accommodation.

Because island communities like Tiree have been relatively safer with lower or zero case levels, there is an option (we assume from April 26th) for islands like ours to drop from current restriction level (level 3) to what will be the new level 2 equivalent. We assume this to mean something similar to the restrictions which are expected to come in no earlier than May 17th – at which point up to 4 people from 2 households can socialise indoors in a private home.

However: The Scottish Government concern is that if people were able to travel freely to and from islands like ours, we would be under disproportionate risk if we were to be operating under greater easing of restrictions from the earlier date. They are therefore considering that if islands like ours were to continue to be treated separately from the mainland, and move to lower restrictions on April 26th, it would need to be accompanied by a continuation of travel restrictions to and from those islands until the later May 17th date. Note: we are unclear if this would also imply us not being able to travel within the local authority area from April 2nd

We are therefore being consulted about a choice on how we would prefer to be treated.

Again we must emphasise that this has been a fast moving issue and there is not a lot of clarity on exactly what options would be considered, there may be some sort of middle ground possible – but as best we can tell this boils down to choosing between two options:

Option A: Tiree would remain in “Level 3”, and would align with the new eased restrictions for mainland Scotland as of April 2nd, and then on April 26th. Tourists would be allowed to travel to and from the island as of the 26th, and residents would be allowed to travel off the island within Scotland (Note: not necessarily cross border travel to England or elsewhere)  and return, but all under level 3 restrictions – e.g. no indoor visits, accommodation only in hotels/tourist accommodation instead of staying with family, etc.

Option B: Tiree would move to the new “Level 2” equivalent earlier – possibly from April 26th, or possibly even April 2nd (we aren’t sure on this point!) – meaning lesser restrictions within the island community (indoor visits would be allowed, etc) – however travel to and from mainland Scotland would NOT be allowed for visitors or residents until the later easing of restrictions on May 17th – i.e. these further eased restrictions would only be available to us within Tiree itself until that later date.

Short-term Survey consultation:

We have set up a simple short survey poll to canvass opinion from the community, in addition to reaching out directly to consult with Tiree based business owners and operators. We have been asked to feed in a view by Monday 22nd – three days from the posting of this survey – so please respond quickly! You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PGWG6PD

If you have only one device but multiple people wishing to express a vote, drop us an e-mail or comment on the page instead as the survey only lets you vote once per device.

Some factors that the TCC members have considered in our own discussion of this:

  • Option A allows an earlier resumption of tourism visits and therefore trade for island based tourism business – with resulting economic benefit
  • Option A allows earlier travel off island for residents – albeit with pretty high restrictions still in effect – which could allow for some family contact (outdoors or limited in public places such as cafés etc). Alternatively family could come here, but they would need to stay in tourist accommodation, and the same restrictions would apply.
  • Option A allows for earlier access to things like travel off-island for shopping for things not available on-island – although note that this will not be practical for most people on Tiree from April 2nd as tourist accommodation for non-essential use does not resume until April 26th.
  • We are only talking about a period expected to be 3-5 weeks. Is it worth adding another layer of restrictions/complexity for the island compared to the mainland for such a short time rather than just being treated the same as the mainland?
  • Option A would have a greater/earlier risk impact on staff who work in service/retail that will be in contact with visitors coming here from the mainland.
  • Option B allows greater freedoms within the island community – but not for travel to and from the island. So those with family and friends here could see more of each other under that option, but not for family elsewhere.
  • Option B is technically the safer option for those who live here with regards to the pandemic – but vaccination levels are increasing steadily, and with the retention of higher restriction level for longer under Option A this safety factor as not as dominant as it was earlier in the pandemic
  • However – if the planned easing of restrictions does not go well and there is a resurgence in cases, or new variants of the virus, etc, remaining more secluded may mean the island could avoid as severe a return to lockdown and some of that risk.

What do you think?

Feel free to register and comment on this post below with your view as well as completing the survey on the two expected options. Please be mindful of our policy on comments