THE Scottish Government says it's still committed to taking over control of Kilcreggan's ferry service.

The pledge was given by government minister Paul Wheelhouse in a letter this week to local MSP Jackie Baillie.

Ms Baillie welcomed the reiteration of the government's commitment to take on responsibility for the route from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).

Mr Wheelhouse, the new minister for energy, connectivity and the islands, whose portfolio includes ferry services, told Ms Baillie: "My predecessor, Humza Yousaf, agreed in principle to Transport Scotland taking on responsibility for this service, subject to agreement on the terms of a transfer.

"I remain committed to the Scottish Government taking on responsibility for this service, subject to reaching agreement with SPT."

Ms Baillie said: “It is good news for Kilcreggan ferry users that the Scottish Government have reiterated their intention to take over the operation of the ferry service."

The route was taken over by Clyde Marine Services earlier this year after a new contract was awarded following widespread criticism of Clydelink, the firm which had operated the service since 2012.

However, the new deal, which runs until July 2019, represents an increased cost of £77,408 per year on the Clydelink contract – equating to a subsidy of £5.90 per journey, based on the most recent figures of 55,000 passenger journeys a year.

Ms Baillie continued: “The service had faced significant difficulties under the previous operator Clydelink who continuously failed to properly invest in the service.

"It became so unreliable that users could not rely on the ferry to get them to Greenock [sic] or collect them again at the other side.

“I hope that, now the true cost of operating the ferry service is established, the Scottish Government will push forward with the transfer so that passengers in Kilcreggan have the same experience as other ferry users across Scotland.”