Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has welcomed reports that CalMac are developing a new ferry booking system – which could include retaining deck space for bookings closer to date of travel.

Mr MacNeil has already suggested to Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP that introducing different time windows to the booking system would ensure space was available for island residents and businesses who need to travel at short notice. Mr Wheelhouse reacted positively to the idea.

Mr MacNeil said:

“Investment by Transport Scotland in a new booking system is very welcome.

“This will modernise the whole system and allow the company to manage deck space more efficiently and improve communications during adverse weather.

“Consultation on this will provide an opportunity for communities to tell Calmac what they want.

“The current situation is unworkable for short term travellers which includes businesses and those who need to travel due to a bereavement or family illness.  Many ferry services are booked up months in advance so in order to relieve this issue, an instant solution would be to alter the system.

“This would also work for flights which are in high demand such as those between Barra and Glasgow which are currently fully booked up to end of August.”