Two Skye politicians are backing the continuing calls to see MV Coruisk return to the island on a permanent basis and now want Scotland’s Transport Minister to intervene.
The comments from Ian Blackford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and MSP Kate Forbes follow on from the recent statement issued by Sleat Transport Forum.
Mr Blackford said: “I fully commend Sleat Transport Forum in the way they have represented the community interest in speaking out for a reliable ferry service between Mallaig and Armadale.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the opportunities that should have come from the Road Equivalent Tariff scheme would have seen a dramatic increase on traffic on the route and yet this has been undermined by the failure to deliver a reliable service.
"It is not acceptable that CalMac has yet to respond to the failure to provide suitable vessels for the service over the summer period.
"The 2016 season has been one of missed opportunity. We must now make sure that we have a service for 2017 that is fit for purpose which means the return of the ’Coruisk’ or a similar vessel designed to operate from link span facilities as well as an appropriate secondary vessel to make sure there is sufficient capacity in place to meet demand.
Kate Forbes MSP added:: “The Sleat Transport Forum made a simple and very reasonable request to Transport Scotland representatives at the meeting on 3 August, namely that there would be the provision of a reliable service in place for the summer 2017 timetable.
“The route has been plagued with disruption since the removal of the MV Coruisk on 25 March, and the priority is now to secure a robust and reliable service in summer 2017.
“I repeatedly made the case to Transport Scotland on 3 August that Transport Scotland and CalMac must engage with the community to plan next summer’s service. We need firm assurances that next summer’s service will continue to build the economy of the south end of Skye, not undermine it.
“CalMac and Transport Scotland have a responsibility to the west coast communities to engage constructively and to ensure that we don’t repeat the debacle of an unreliable service on a very popular route.
“I have written to Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Transport and Islands to this effect.”