A reduced ferry timetable will be introduced tomorrow (Friday 27 March.)

The timetable will run for an initial period of three weeks and will be subject to continual review.

The Essential Lifeline Timetable will ensure all islands receive regular deliveries of goods and services.

In the last few days passengers on the entire service were down by 85%, cars by 75% and commercial traffic by 45%.

In 2019 daily passenger numbers at the end of March were around 9,500, currently they are at 1,500 and these are expected to drop further. CalMac has also seen 8,000 bookings cancelled through their contact centre teams compared to just 300 in the same period last year.

This new timetable will see weekly sailings drop from 2419 to 948 against the normal winter timetable – a drop of almost 61%.

"We believe that this timetable will be able to maximise use of available crews for the vessels and continue to provide our vital lifeline service for communities," said CalMac's Managing Director, Robbie Drummond.

"These are extreme times for businesses across Scotland, the UK and indeed the world. As this virus spreads there is the chance that pressure on crewing may require us to make further changes. In this eventuality, we will work to our agreed Route Prioritisation Matrix to ensure that all Islands receive a service. We are in daily contact with the Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland to ensure we are on top of all the latest advice and guidance.

"Given the lockdown from the Government that has made travel essential only, we think this new timetable is one that best suits the needs of the communities we support.

"It is important that we continue to provide ferries that can take vital goods and services to our island communities and transport people who have essential travel needs. Community groups and key hauliers have been consulted to ensure that the supply chains can be maintained."

The new timetable can be viewed here.