New boat will save ferry link

03 Sep 2008

by Vivienne Nicoll, Evening Times

Moves to replace the historic Renfrew Ferry with a pedestrian bridge are likely to be scrapped because of the £15million bill.

Instead transport chiefs are expected to agree that the existing boats be replaced.

The decision is to come after a £60,000 feasibility study was launched last year into the future of the 200m Glasgow crossing between Renfrew and Yoker.

It found that the service's two ageing ferries, the Renfrew Rose and Yoker Swan, will have to be replaced within a couple of years after becoming increasingly costly to maintain. Neither complies with the Disability Discrimination Act.

But the study by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport also found it would cost an initial £15m to replace them with a bridge, with operating costs in excess of £130,000 a year.

SPT officials will instead suggest to a meeting of the operations committee on Friday that the existing ferries are replaced at a cost of up to £1m, and an annual subsidy of £400,000.

Both the Renfrew Rose and Yoker Swan can carry 50 passengers but on average carry only three or four passengers on each crossing.

That means SPT has to pay a subsidy of £2.77 for each passenger. Adults pay £1.10 for a single journey. Passenger numbers were down 1.5% to 147,200 last year.

At present the existing ferries are rotated to ensure even wear and tear, so SPT will investigate whether they can be replaced by just one, more reliable vessel.

SPT chairman Alistair Watson said: "The expectation is that after long deliberation and looking at the options, the operations committee will accept the recommendation to continue running the Renfrew Ferry.

"The next step is to consider the type of vessel we need to procure and any changes to the slipways.

"The final decision will be made by SPT at its October meeting."

A ferry has made the journey between Renfrew on the south bank of the Clyde and Renfrew on the north for more than 500 years.

Reproduced with the permission of The Evening Times (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • The Yoker/Renfrew ferry