West coast ferry operator CalMac has been named ‘Ferry Operator of the Year 2018’ at the National Transport Awards.
The award is open to ferry operators running services from ports in the UK and Ireland. Entries 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.
‘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,’ said CalMac managing director, Robbie Drummond.
The awards are organised by industry publication Transport Times with a prestigious judging panel that included Professor David Begg, former lecturer in transport policy at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and current visiting professor at Plymouth University. Louise Ellman MP, former chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee and Claire Haigh chief executive of sustainable travel group, Greener Journeys.
CalMac operates a fleet of 33 vessels across 26 routes serving island and remote mainland locations across the west coast. Last year they carried more than 5.3 million passengers, an increase of 300,000, and nearly 1.4 million vehicles.
‘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%,’ said Robbie.
‘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.
‘While this is great for our communities’ economies, it can be a challenge to manage within the fleet resources at our disposal. 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.’
Picture shows: CalMac’s winning team are presented with their award by broadcaster Jeremy Vine