Corran Ferry service update
At the recent Lochaber Committee members had the opportunity to discuss progress made to the Corran Ferry service since an Options Appraisal was completed in Autumn 2018.
The appraisal looked at issues and proposals in planning for the immediate and medium term future to ensure there will be a continued reliable and affordable ferry service.
Lochaber members have given their support to the recruitment of two additional crew members following a staffing review that highlighted the need for more resilience in order to continue providing a sustainable service. The council is also currently advertising for a Project Manager for a two year fixed-term appointment. The remit of the post includes progressing all aspects for the Corran Ferry Service Outline Business Case, determining future proposals for capital investment in vessels, slipway structures, service delivery methods and future fares in close consultation with council members and stakeholders. The Project Manager will also be involved with the current ferry operations.
At the Committee it was highlighted that the current system for collecting fares is incompatible with smart technology and the current system and support for the push-button machines has become outdated and represents a risk to service reliability which must be addressed.
There is no capacity to take payments by smart-card, web based sales or mobile phone pre-payment apps and the current temporary solution for taking card payments is proving to be time consuming and unreliable.
To address these issues staff are actively looking at new ticketing providers and systems to make it easier to gather meaningful statistics and keep accurate records.
The report presented to the Committee also highlighted that the introduction of charging for foot passengers is being progressed and an additional recommendation by the committee requires this to be implemented in 2019/20.
Lochaber Cllr Alan Henderson who is Chair of the Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee and Chair of HITRANS said: “Hitrans are currently working to deliver a Scottish Government Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) to look at a future options for crossing the Corran Narrows.
“The Corran Narrows Fixed Link STAG will aim to determine:
- The main options (bridge/tunnel)
- The engineering feasibility
- Deliverability (relative to environmental constraints)
- Potential costs
- Benefits and impacts.”