YEARS of campaigning by fed-up Kilcreggan ferry users are set to pay off in the new year when oversight of the route is transferred to Scotland's national transport agency.

Papers for a meeting of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), due to be held on Friday, state that “subject to an acceptable legal and financial agreement”, oversight of the route will be transferred from SPT to Transport Scotland on April 1, 2020.

The recommendation follows years of lobbying by politicians and community groups on the Rosneath peninsula, who have long believed that Transport Scotland, which already oversees the Clyde and Hebrides ferry routes operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, is better placed to be responsible for the service, which currently costs SPT £334,000 a year in subsidies.

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Operation of the route was transferred to Clyde Marine Services (CMS) of Greenock in 2018 after the previous operator, Clydelink, was stripped of the contract amid mounting concern at its poor performance.

SPT members are to be asked to agree that the final terms for the transfer of responsibility to Transport Scotland be negotiated by SPT’s assistant chief executive, and considered by a future SPT committee “in due course”.

The latest report on patronage and reliability of the service, provided to SPT's operations committee in October, revealed that use of the service declined year-on-year in each of the last five four-week reporting periods, stretching back to June 8, by an average of 2.7 per cent.

However, for the financial year to date, up to September 28, usage was up overall by 1.7 per cent on the same period in 2018.

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That report revealed that for the three periods from July 7 to September 28, reliability had been 100 per cent, 99 per cent and 96 per cent.

For the period ending August 3, there were no missed sailings at all; for the period ending August 31, six sailings were cancelled, all because of adverse weather; and for the period ending September 28, the number of missed sailings rose to 27 –16 of them because of a mechanical fault, and 11 due to more bad weather.

The service was cancelled all day on Tuesday of this week, and again on Wednesday morning, because of high winds.

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