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CalMac condemns abusive passengers and calls for public to respect rules ahead of easing of Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown travel restrictions in Scotland

By Philip Murray

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The MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the Ullapool-Stornoway route. Picture: Alan Jamieson from Aberdeen, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
The MV Loch Seaforth ferry on the Ullapool-Stornoway route. Picture: Alan Jamieson from Aberdeen, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

FERRY operator CalMac is asking passengers to think twice after an increase in abuse aimed at frontline staff managing the service.

With Scottish Government lockdown social distancing rules still in place, capacity on all of CalMac's ferries has been vastly reduced.

But, ahead of wider easing of travel restrictions in July, there has been some minor opening up of ferry travel for those meeting friends and family.

Leisure and recreation trips continue to be barred however, and this has led to some passengers venting their anger at staff when they can't travel.

"Abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said CalMac's Tommy Gore.

"Our staff are doing a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances and should be applauded for the key workers that they are.

"We understand it can be frustrating to be told that you are unable to travel but staff have to follow the rules and regulations that are in place to keep us all safe. Some of them have been subjected to increasing levels of verbal abuse as a result of doing their job.

"We take a zero-tolerance approach to this and will not hesitate to contact the police if our staff feel threatened.

"This is only a minority of people causing the problem, but we would like to encourage all passengers to think about whether their journey is meeting the guidelines set by the Scottish Government.

"We are still working to a reduced timetable with very limited spaces, and people thinking about travelling should consider that they might be taking a space away from an essential worker or island resident."

CalMac is currently working with Transport Scotland on a new timetable that will increase sailings to reflect the change in travel guidance and the added demand this is likely to bring.

Details of this new timetable will be announced shortly.

Visit www.calmac.co.uk for all timetables, and also for travel advice before making a journey.

Click here to read more coronavirus news.

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