Calmac have released an updated set of information following recent easing of lockdown restrictions, which includes greatly increased maximum passenger numbers and also extension of the booking period to 30 days.
More information here: https://www.calmac.co.uk/covid19/calmac-latest-update-09-july-2020
We are hopeful that this, combined with an expected additional sailing to be added soon on Saturdays (EDIT: Now confirmed, starting July 18th), will substantially ease the difficulties many islanders have been experiencing with getting booked to travel – although capacity is still far short of what we’d usually expect this time of year pre-COVID-19 of course.
At the moment we have not heard if the provision for picking up tickets on the day of travel at the pier office, as mentioned in our article in this week’s An Tirisdeach, has changed – we are not sure if it would still operating on the basis of 20% given the increased capacity. (EDIT: WE have now had confirmation that this is still in place, for passenger capacity only, and will be reviewed on basis of demand as things move forward)
Islanders may wish to consider, however, that given the increased passenger allowance the availability of unbooked space on the car deck is likely to be much lower – whereas with 86 passengers maximum it was very unlikely for the car deck to be fully utilised so those getting tickets on the day could generally be confident of also getting space for a vehicle – with the new higher passenger numbers it is now very much possible for the car deck to be fully booked in advance, so getting booked on in advance remains the preferred option. (EDIT 14th July: We’re told by Calmac that, thus far, there have not been capacity demand issues relating to this, but things may busy up as word spreads about increased capacity so best to book soon if you need to)