‘Unprecedented’ demand to get onboard Millport ferry

Current restrictions mean CalMac's fleets are running at around 35% capacity.

Caledonian MacBrayne is increasing staff numbers after an “unprecedented” number of visitors to Cumbrae.

Current restrictions mean CalMac’s fleets are running at around 35% capacity on the popular Largs to Cumbrae route.

But demand for the island, including popular tourist spot Millport, after lockdown has meant long waiting times at ferry ports.

With recent hot weather seeing numbers increase, day trippers, tourists and islanders have found themselves queuing for up to three hours.

Extra staff have now been brought in to help manage the queues.

Between August 2-8 the Largs-Cumbrae route carried 21,549 passengers and 5347 cars.

On some of the busiest days, day-tripper tickets were stopped at 1pm to make sure people could get back to the mainland.

During the same period last year, when there were no capacity restrictions and no stopping of tickets, the route saw 25,217 passengers and 4836 cars. 

Tommy Gore, area operations manager for CalMac said: “The route between Largs and Cumbrae has always been popular, especially in good weather.

“However, the last few weeks have been almost unprecedented in terms of the sheer volume of people trying to take cars across to Cumbrae for the day. 

“On two occasions now, we have had to stop selling day return tickets because we could not guarantee that day trippers taking the car over would be able to get back the same evening.”

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