This is the success of RET, but it comes at a price, as the large number of containerised lorries on the roads of the Western Isles demonstrates. As I warned a long time back, there is a definite impact on some local businesses who have not been able (or willing) to face the challenge from the mainland.
But there is a solution to overloaded ferries in sight.
On Thursday CalMac directors are coming to the island to speak to the LDOS and to meet with the Donald Manford, Chair of Transportation, and to announce that Sunday sailings are happening.
All to meet the huge increase in visitors over the Summer sailing periods.
Update 6pm: Spoke to Donald Manford who denies he was invited to a meeting with CalMac and that a request for a meeting had been made at a much higher level than the "mere Chair of Transportation". CalMac have admitted that they are meeting with some groups, but refuse to identify them. LDOS confirm that they are meeting with CalMac on Thursday.
Convener, Vice-Convener (& Chief Executive?) of Comhairle are 'unavailable' on Thursday due to leaving (very early) for a COSLA meeting on Friday!
More to follow.....
Update 8:30pm: The cause of this goes back two years. At that time the (majority of) Councillors decided not to debate Sunday issues and instructed the Chief Executive to formulate a report and possible policy for their consideration.
CalMac have long stated that they would never introduce Sunday sailings without consultation, but the Comhairle policy has never seen the light of day and as such the Directors of CalMac (which includes the Convener) have decided that the refusal to even outline the basis for consultation nullifies their promises.
The Transport Minister is, I am told, fully aware of CalMac's decision and fully supportive of their stance.
Why? RET means full ferries and the alternatives are utilising the assets 7 days a week or finding the cash to buy a new ferry (or ferries!), and that cash isn't there.
So, as I forecast, RET has led to Sunday ferries as sure as night follows day.
Update 21:20: For the sake of clarity, apart from the erroneous detail of his meeting with CalMac, Cllr Manford is not denying the remainder of the report is correct.