#FerryNews - A Scottish ferry company has been named 'Ferry Operator of the Year 2018' at an awards ceremony which was also open to entries from those serving ports in Ireland and the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The winner, Calmac, which operates to the Scottish western isles was presented at the recently held National Transport Awards in London.
Those who entered needed to demonstrate how they have improved services and facilities over the year. This included results that have been achieved across performance and reliability, passenger growth, and customer satisfaction.
Commenting on the award, CalMac managing director, Robbie Drummond said, "This is an award for all our staff in recognition that no matter what challenges we face, whether it be extreme weather conditions or vessel availability, they will always provide the best possible service for our customers".
"Last year was another historical high for carryings. Overall in the five years to 2017, passenger numbers have gone up by 17% and vehicles by 37%".
Mr. Drummond added "Our core market is the lifeline services we provide to communities across the area we support, but the popularity of our services with visitors is growing year on year. This is a huge recognition that our people can continue to provide a first class customer experience in the face of booming numbers travelling with us"
ARRAN on Firth of Clyde - CalMac's most popular route
Among CalMac's extensive route network of 26 routes serving island and remote mainland locations is to the Isle of Arran on Firth of Clyde. The island dubbed as Scotland in miniature (see report) is near to the large population 'central belt' of Glasgow and Edinburgh and of the route network is the nearest to Northern Ireland.
The short-sea 55 minute route of Brodick-Arran,(new terminal opened this year) had the highest number of passengers with 844,198 travelling in 2017.
As the National reports, the figures were obtained by the local member of the Scottish parliament, Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
The next best performing routes was Largs to Millport (745,619), Wemyss Bay to Rothesay (713,906), Oban to Craignure (670,248) and Mallaig to Armadale (285,483).
Last year, CalMac carried more than 5.3 million passengers, an increase of 300,000, and nearly 1.4 million vehicles.
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