THE ARRIVAL of a second ferry has given Mull residents a big boost – because the extra sailings now available will mean Oban will be commutable for prospective workers for the first time.
Timetable restrictions had prevented islanders from taking full-time jobs on the mainland, but the introduction of the Coruisk ferry will now herald extra sailings that will boost employment opportunities.
The announcement follows longstanding concerns that an inadequate ferry service would have “economic consequences” for the island.
The journey, which takes between 40-45 minutes, should ease staffing problems on Mull as well as helping islanders planning to work in Oban, said Steve Willis, secretary of Mull Community Council.
Speaking to the Herald, he said: “It is brilliant we now have a two-boat service, but more so the fact that we have got one that suits commuters for the first time in history.”
The commuter-friendly ferry routes do not apply to the winter months, but negotiations are underway to persuade CalMac to make it a year-round service.
SNP Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: “I am delighted that the long campaign to get a timetable that allows commuting on and off the island has finally worked. The summer timetable, though not perfect, is a big improvement.”
He added: “The work now will be to sustain that improvement over each winter, which is essential if the new employment opportunities that these developments permit are to be secured and sustained.”
Drew Collier, CalMac director of operations, said: “Listening to our customers is central to the service we provide.
“The enhanced timetable answers many of the questions we have been asked about how we could better tailor our services to suit the needs of the communities we serve.”