CalMac has won a new £900m contract to remain as operator of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferries Network.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that CalMac is the preferred tenderer for the next contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) this morning.
Serco Caledonian Ferries also submitted a bid for the lucrative contract.
CalMac’s bid makes almost 350 commitments to improve the service, aiming to help drive economic growth, improve customer service and make sure the company delivers value for money.
- £6 million investment in vessel and port improvements
- The introduction of smart and integrated ticketing systems on key routes
- Increase passenger/vehicle traffic by 10% and commercial traffic by 12% over the course of the contract
- Providing more opportunities for local employment, including more apprenticeships
- The creation of a new Director of Community and Stakeholder Engagement post and a Communities Board to better involve communities in investment and services decisions
- Retaining its head office in Gourock and maintaining its status as a Living Wage employer
- All existing routes and services will continue to operate as they do now
In addition to these headline proposals, CalMac has committed to retaining the CalMac pension scheme and a policy of no compulsory redundancies.
The tender price for the next contract is around £900 million for eight years from 1st October 2016.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m very pleased to announce CalMac as our preferred bidder for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
“CalMac have a long and proud tradition of running the Clyde and Hebrides routes, and the company is woven into the fabric of the communities they serve.
“Their tender offers a good deal for those communities served by these vital transport links and ensures that we can maximise the opportunities to support and nurture our island economies.
“CalMac will better manage demand to drive an increase in traffic, as well as make the ferry services more attractive with the introduction of smart ticketing on key routes.
“The Scottish Government has made a clear commitment to our ferry services, investing a record £1 billion in port infrastructure, vessels and services since 2007.
“Scottish Ministers will retain control of all of important issues, such as fares and timetables, through the public service contract. Vessels and port infrastructure will also remain publicly owned as they are now.
“This new contract looks to make further improvements our ferry services, and I look forward to CalMac starting the new contract later this year.”