Hopes are high that a switch in the ferry operator on the Kilcreggan-Gourock route this weekend will breathe new life into the Rosneath Peninsula.

News that operator Clydelink has been stripped of the contract early has been widely welcomed after months of technical failures and interruptions.

From Monday, the vital link will be operated by Clyde Marine Service of Greenock.

This week, Conservative MSP Maurice Corry welcomed the move and said the return to a reliable service was not only good news for commuters but also for cafes and bars on the Peninsula.

He said: "I am delighted hear the ferry contract will switch from Monday after all the issues with the last contractor.

"We need to get a good, reliable service for the people of Kilcreggan and Gourock who are commuting back and forward. Clyde Marine are a long established business who will bring good vessels and reliability to the service."

Mr Corry said tourism was suffering because of the breakdowns and interruptions, and people considering moving to live on the peninsula were being put off.

He added: "Delays were all too frequent - this will be a big improvement all round."

Lomond north councillor George Freeman, who lives in Garelochhead, also welcome the early switch in operators.

He said: “Although my constituents and I were delighted when SPT agreed back in January to award the new contract for the Kilcreggan Ferry service to Clyde Marine, there was some disappointment that we would have to wait until July for the Clyde Marine contract to start.

"Given the ongoing problems with the current service and the pressure from many people for SPT to bring the new contract with Clyde Marine forward, along with my constituents, I was delighted last week when SPT confirmed that they were terminating the contract with Clydelink with Clyde Marine taking the service over as from Monday 14 May.

"SPT have confirmed that the principal vessel with be the MV Chieftain which was formerly the MV Seabus and that the MV Rover will be available as a backup vessel”.

Cllr Freeman said although it was a pity it had taken so long to sort the mess out, he was delighted all the effort that had been put in by so many people over recent years had now paid off

"I now look forward to Clyde Marine delivering a reliable service for my constituents and others who depend on this service”.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport 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 news was immediately welcomed by the peninsula's MSP, Jackie Baillie, who has been lobbying for months to have Clydelink stripped of the contract.

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.”

A recent SPT report showed a 71 per cent slump in passenger numbers on the ferry.