This week, columnist and Kilcreggan resident Ruth Wishart reflects on the looming handover of the contract to run the village's ferry link with Gourock...

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Let joy be unconfined. After half a dozen years where the Kilcreggan-Gourock ferry has been withering on the vine thanks to its hapless new operators, the contract has finally been withdrawn and Clyde Marine, who ran the service for 30 years, will resume the route.

The whole debacle is an object lesson in false economies. When SPT favoured the Clydelink bid in 2012 it did so because the much lower bid would “save” more money. The lower bid, let us remember, was accompanied by promises of a newly built boat, and mouth music about a back up vessel etc.

In the event we finally got an elderly craft sporting rust and serial breakdowns, boasting failed inspections, and offering some difficulties over the necessary crew qualifications.

The more unreliable the “service” became, the more folk had to make alternative arrangements to get to their work, hospital appointments or place of study.

One commuter even sold up and moved to Helensburgh because he was threatened with the sack following a succession of late arrivals.

It was a seaborne shambles which provoked questions in parliament, and the local choir singing their protests on the pier – a happening covered by national TV.

Now, at long last, the original company will be back in business in four days’ time. But in the interim more 70 per cent of the passengers have given up and made other arrangements.

For the service to survive, they need to be wooed back. And the ferry service has to be run directly by Transport Scotland, rather than SPT, whose failure to do due diligence underwrote this debacle.