The Scottish Government wanted to plan lifeline ferries between the Scottish mainland and the Outer Hebrides
Transport Scotland specifies and funds lifeline ferry services to Scotland’s island communities. In the light of aging assets and growing demand, we were appointed to develop a network plan to guide the development of the five routes between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish mainland as well as two inter-island routes.
This plan was informed by an options appraisal following the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). The process was informed through analysis of passenger and freight demand and vessel capacity utilisation, demand forecasting, public and stakeholder engagement, primary research (resident, business, and onboard surveys), analysis of ferry operations and crewing, and engagement with the operator and asset owners.
Options included timetable changes, additional tonnage (and associated harbour infrastructure), crewing measures to extend operating days, vessel redeployment, and freight only services. A short, medium, and long-term network plan was produced and put out for consultation to the public, stakeholders and elected representatives. The findings of the study have been used to inform Transport Scotland’s ongoing service planning.
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