THE operator of Kilcreggan's beleaguered ferry service has been stripped of the contract after months of technical failures and interruptions to the vital link.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announced on Friday that the contract with Clydelink will be terminated early and Greenock-based Clyde Marine Services will take over with effect from Monday, May 14.

In January 2018 SPT awarded a new contract to CMS, which was due to take effect in July.

But after months of unprecedented levels of disruption with the existing ferry service from Clydelink, the patience of SPT has now finally run out - months after that of regular ferry users.

SPT said in a statement on Friday: "Following a series of disruptions to the Kilcreggan – Gourock ferry service, SPT has notified the current contractor, Clydelink Ltd, that the contract will be terminated after the last sailing on 12 May 2018, in line with the terms of the conditions of contract.

"Clyde Marine Services Ltd will assume operation of the contract with effect from May 14. The timetable of the service is unchanged."

The peninsula's MSP, Jackie Baillie, who has been lobbying for months to have Clydelink stripped of the contract, unsurprisingly welcomed the news.

She said: “This is great news for local passengers. Over the past few months I have been working hard to secure a positive outcome for local people by lobbying Strathclyde Partnership for Transport to scrap the existing ferry service, because it was so unreliable.

“I am delighted that SPT has finally listened to local people and agreed to start the new contract with immediate effect from 14 May. This is a victory for local campaigners who deserve a better, more reliable service.

“The next stage of the campaign is to put pressure on the Scottish Government to continue negotiations on the transfer of the ferry service from SPT to Transport Scotland as soon as possible.”

In November 2017, a delegation of local residents from Kilcreggan travelled to the Scottish Parliament to watch a debate secured by Jackie to highlight the plight of local commuters affected by repeat interruptions to the ferry service.