CalMac apologises after passengers face issues with ticketing system

Customers complained that they couldn’t access the new system just hours after it officially went live.

CalMac has apologised after ferry passengers experienced various difficulties with the long-awaited booking overhaul on the first day it launched.

Customers complained that they couldn’t access the new system just hours after it officially went live on Wednesday, May 17 and some were sent messages saying they need to re-register with no way to enter their details.

Others reported the new booking website crashing and displaying an error message when they visited – including when trying to use the guest option.

The ferry operator has now apologised for the issue which it described in many cases as “peripheral to the core system but nevertheless disruptive”.

CalMac added that it “would like to provide reassurance that the core system is working, bookings are being processed, and all services are running”.

CalMac's long-awaited new ticketing system was plagued by issues when it launched.STV News

Robbie Drummond, chief executive of CalMac, said: “I am sorry for any inconvenience caused to our customers since the launch of our new booking and ticketing platform, and I would like to thank them for their continued patience and support.

“Please be assured that we remain focused on working with our technology and payment suppliers, and our teams are working around the clock. We are confident that issues experienced will be resolved, and over time the advantages of the new system will become more obvious both to our customers and our staff. We will continue to respond to customer enquiries as quickly as possible and communicate updates through our usual channels.”

The operator explained that there were payment issues on nine of its routes initially which were resolved on the first day and another issue subsequently arose which may be affecting payments on several routes, which is being addressed.

It said that its supplier is currently working on several issues to find a solution which is to be introduced as rapidly as possible this week.

In some cases customers’ receipt of emails has been delayed in some cases by email services automatically deferring delivery because of a volume of emails from a new source. 

However, after some delays, 97% of emails relating to bookings migrated from its previous platform or sent following a new booking since launch have now been delivered, CalMac said, adding that account-related emails are delivering at a 99% success rate.

In addition, CalMac is also working through network disruption and reduced capacity on some sailings, which it chose to manage in the new system and is conflating some of the pressures. 

Booked customers are being offered new sailings where possible, or refunds. 

Several bookings migrated to the new platform did not have account or email information which has slowed the process, CalMac said.

There is a specific issue in relation to Islay bookings which shows as two separate routes. Customers can make a return booking to different ports using the “multi-island” feature – which CalMac said will be made clearer in the system with appropriate guidance for customers.

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