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Inter Island Ferry Service

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132 replies to this topic

#1 SV2019

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 06:16 PM

Can Anyone advice why SIC don’t go for tunnels? When Eu and Norwegian company both would fund most of it Yell one could drive and same Unst day or night don’t depend on whether to mainland Shetland, it be great I don’t believe people in North isle would object such service if built.

I see in media Sic have been at Scottish office for ferries payments to Give more Funds , But do remember not   long ago Scottish Government offered to take run ferries Directly. why Sic did not except this  with conditions to run service? this would have cleared their liability’s financial, and monies could go in developing communities 

 

Sic do wonderful Job operating service but time let others run service, Dont  Hold on to it.  They could put service out to tender possible save few Millions per year usually people look at different options but not with ferries some reason they  must hold it  Any operator be Glad tender   and operate  such ferries operation on 5-year contract

 

I welcome any comments on this as its strange situation this saga why tunnel option is  of the talks and people Northern isles depend on weather and cant get there business in lerwick done as depend ferrie times return home as tunnel 24 hours aday

 

 

 


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#2 The bear

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 06:31 PM

Agree bring the north isles into the 21st century with tunnels so people can commute to Lerwick for work and not be ferry dependent
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#3 Urabug

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 07:51 PM

Tunnels or Ferries the answer to the question is simple,will it be cheaper or more expensive .

 

If there is a toll to pass through the tunnel how much will it be,because it is the cost of traveling to and from the islands that is the problem not the Ferries and tunnels will only be better if they are cheaper. 

 

Remember a lot of well paid jobs go when the Ferries go,most of the staff stay on the Islands.Would they find other jobs or leave.

 

Would tunnels create additional employment in the islands!



#4 suuusssiiieee

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 08:16 PM

I think tunnels are the way forward if the North Isles are to prosper and thrive.

 

Opportunities must be greater with a fixed link as this will make the island accessible 24/7, businesses can do their work unhindered by weather or mechanical issues, tourists can get to the Isles at any anytime making Yell and Unst far more attractive to visit.

 

This sadly [tunnels] should have been built 30 odd years ago with on onset of North Sea oil, a huge opportunity was missed then to link the Isles. Constant dithering by many councils has lost so much time.

 

Looking into the future you have to weigh up expenditure on terminals, ferries, not to mention fuel which is only going to rocket in price. Long term tunnels have to be the way ahead, it's really a no brainer frankly.


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#5 Frances144

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:03 PM

I am stunned at the way money is thrown at any potential project with the L (Lerwick) word in it.

Outwith Lerwick, all bets are off.

The outlying islands need tunnels to connect them and make living there viable.

This commitment to rural communities that the SIC bleat on about means nothing until they actually put some real money into making them part of the bigger picture.
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#6 magnie ii

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:34 PM

surely with the state of the unst ferries if they don't build a bridge they will have to renew the terminals and the ferries soon anyway yell has huge new ferries and terminals but when you get to the other side its all on its last legs.


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#7 MuckleJoannie

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:37 PM

To answer boby2013's original query I think it has a lot to do with "not invented here" syndrome.


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#8 George.

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 10:40 PM

Are the ferry crews related to the council? There can't be any other reason for maintaining them for all these decades, instead of building bridges or tunnels. After all, bridges and tunnels can run 24/7 as opposed to ferries, which run when they wish to. Wonder how long it would take to get from Unst to the Gilbert Bain at three o'clock on a Sunday morning by tunnel as opposed to getting the skipper and his crew out of bed and the ferry started when the need arises?


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#9 ll

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:05 PM

Don’t suppose Trondra and Burra would want to go back to ferries again?
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#10 Urabug

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 12:32 AM

Don’t suppose Trondra and Burra would want to go back to ferries again?

Burra and Trondra are ideally located with respect to Lerwick and Scalloway where i have no doubt many of the folk have jobs .

 

Hamnavoe  used to have a harbour full of fishing boats,and Burra had several shops this has all but disappeared ,due to the bridges there is no doubt everyone has benefited from the ability to get to the Mainland when they want,there can be no disputing that.

 

Of course the outer Islands and Bressay would like Burra and Trondra  benifit greatly from tunnels/bridges but my concerns are with modern technology which is endeavoring to do away with more and more jobs.

 

Driverless vehicles,robots,drones, ect ect ,where will all the jobs be in a few years time and i do not see folk able to stay on these islands without jobs.

 

There is no doubt Tunnels and bridges are the answer but this will not solve all problems far far from it,unless there is more employment opportunities on the islands, to encourage folk to want to stay there .



#11 ll

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 12:48 AM

It's actually closer from Lerwick to Bressay, than it was from the main island of Trondra to Burra - pre-bridge



#12 Ghostrider

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 03:56 AM

Across two tendering processes the Foula boat cost was reduced by something close to half its former cost.

 

As far as I'm aware, nobody working on the actual boat lost their job over it, nobody working on the boat suffered a pay cut (TUPE?), there was no reduction in service provision, there was no reduction in service reliability. In fact all I can recall hearing since it went over to private contract has been praise, which is the opposite of all you ever heard when the SIC ran it themselves.

 

If I'm wrong on any of this, somebody tell be and I'll shutup and sausage off.

 

I'm not naive enough to believe a similar cost reduction could be achieved on all ferry routes, but surely its not unreasonable, taking in to consideration the outcome of the Foula "trial" that some level of saving could be achievable on most of them. Savings that would be better spent going towards terminal/boat upgrades, replacements, tunnels or whtever it was decided was the best option(s) for the future. It would cost not a lot to at least go through with a tendering process, just to prove what might (or not) be achievable, but its a hot brick nobody where it matters seems to want to comment on let alone touch.

 

Going cap in hand to niggardly scots(wo)men begging for more is not going to solve much - worth doing, and keeping on doing, yes, but can only ever be expected to return meagre results, if any. Letting the same scots(wo)men in to run within Shetland ferries is something I would vehemently oppose - In true "(s)he who pays the piper, calls the tune" fashion, the ferries would run when they thought they should run, where they thought they shoud run, would be the boats they decided were 'best' for the job and the fares would be whatever they decided they were going to be, and regardless how wrong any of that was folk would just have to put up with it, as sure as hell, any protests or attempts to negotiate improvement would be met with exactly the same as they are for other things right now, a few flowery platitudes, and continue as is.

 

Yes, by all means screw every last penny out of Holyrood possible for the boats, but accept that at best it'll be chicken feed that really makes no great noticable difference to financing them. Pretty much what is in the kitty right now is what is to work with, within a few percentage points either way fluctuations, and try and stretch that money as far as possible to be able to move forward little by little.

 

If running a small half decked boat back and forth to Foula fewer times in a week than the bigger boats make runs before breakfast each day can return a saving amountng to several hundred thousands in a year, just how big a pot of cash is being swilled away elsewhere every day when it needn't be, and could be being put to so much better use?

 

Whether ferries or tunnels are the 'best value' is really a relatively simple equation if only considered in financial terms. Once boats reach a certain age their ongoing costs start to climb as expensive refurbs, upgrades, replacement of worn/corroded parts etc become necessary to keep them operational and seaworthy. At 25 a working boat is getting old, at 50 its very old. Ideally replacement ferries probably should be pencilled in for every 25-35 years, so basically three per century minimum. So, price of new boat x 3, plus expected maintenance, repair and running costs of a boat for a 35 year period x 3, plus the same costings for the necessary terminals for 100 years vs. price of tunnel, plus repair and maintenance of that tunnel for 100 years. It a reatively simple equation, for which there should be a quite definitive and robust answer, and should be easily calculated by anyone with access to adequate data.

 

As others have already said, its a whole lot more complicated than that. The isles served by ferries are a product of the ferry system, they're very different places now than they were when access was by regular runs of the Earl/Brenda etc, and no doubt life then was markedly different than it had been before regular transport links were established when the reliance was on ad hoc privately owned boats taking out and bringing in what they felt like when they felt like it. Tunnels unavoidably would create yet different communities, the isles have changed and evolved before (apparently, for the majority at least, quite happily) as each 'upgrade' in transport has come their way, its only the residents of the isles affected though who can say whether another change, and the nature of that change, is likely to improve or destroy them.


Edited by Ghostrider, 21 November 2017 - 04:24 AM.

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#13 Guest_Mr.Brown_*

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 05:37 AM

I would have thought that if living on one of the "islands" was such a bad deal because of the lack of a 24/7 connection to the mainland then the populations would already be diminished to almost nothing. I realise that selling up a home & maybe land too & establishing yourself & possibly family in another area is not an easy, overnight process, but I can't say that I have noticed any major move towards that. If the vast majority of these island residents really want a tunnel then fair enough but I think it would inevitably & irreversibly change their communities. The moral of the tale, "be careful of what you wish for".

#14 shetlander

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 06:30 AM

Tunnels or Ferries the answer to the question is simple,will it be cheaper or more expensive


I’d be very surprised if fixed links weren’t the cheaper option in the long run. I don’t think it’s that simple though – as I’ve said before, we’re speaking about huge infrastructure projects that will need a massive capital outlay at the start. Where is that amount of money going to come from? And even if it was on the table today, I’d be willing to bet it’d be impossible to build tunnels to Bressay, Unst, Yell and Whalsay before some of the current ferries/terminals have to be sold for scrap/crumble into the sea.

As suuusssiiieee has said, it may all have been feasible 20 or 30 years ago but not now. The problem is that in the time the council/councillors have been chasing the dream of providing fixed links - but with no real prospect of them actually being able to be funded or delivered - no thought has been given to replacing ferries and terminals. 7 years have passed now since councillors decided to throw out plans to build new terminals for Whalsay and look at a fixed link instead. And how far has that progressed since? Nowhere. In all likelihood those terminals would have been finished and open by now.

As for whether fixed links would be good or bad for the isles – I have mixed views. The isles have changed a fair bit in my lifetime – and that’s all been in the days of inter-island ferries. Isles folk are travelling to the Mainland a lot more for work (and in some cases the other way around) for shopping, social events etc. I think that’s meant fewer shops, pubs, local employers finding it hard to get folk to work for them etc. I can only imagine that increasing still with fixed links. When they’re already under threat, it’ll be harder still to justify keeping island fire stations, secondary schools, care centres, leisure centres, health centres etc. if (for example) a drive from Symbister or Mid Yell to Brae is cut to less than half an hour. Burra is indeed a case in point. On the other hand, I’m sure they’d benefit island industries, folk who work off the isles, residents who want to socialise on the Mainland etc. But I don’t think they’ll be the depopulation ‘cure all’ that some folk make them out to be.
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#15 The bear

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:04 AM

Pressure needs to be put on sic for fixed links to all the isles but most local councils are run by ferry men who vote to protect there jobs unfortunately they Carnot see beyond there next pay cheque.
Fixed links would open up the isles repopulate them and bring investors to them the term can't see wood for trees come to mind.
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