David Boyce Piano Services

Piano Tuner in Inverclyde, Renferwshire, Glasgow, the west of Scotland and beyond. 

Tel: 07714959806    David@piano.plus.com

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CalMac: When is a ticket not  ticket?

When the CalMac website invites you to “Buy Tickets”, and you want tickets to take your car (and you) on the ferry from Oban to Tiree, you might suppose that your online transaction would give you something that would get you on the boat.  


You can PAY FOR tickets online, but you cannot OBTAIN them.

We are perhaps too used, now, to printing out our own Boarding Passes at home for flights we have booked.  It’s not the same for CalMac ferries.

Online, you pay for a reservation, which you must then use to obtain tickets to get on the boat.

In Oban, if your car is near the front of the line for boarding, it is quite a step to the ticket office - certainly far enough to get soaked, if the rain is pouring down, which at the end of October it is quite likely to be. You  are then condemned to spend four hours damp and uncomfortable on the boat.

Much better if you can already have your tickets in hand, to pass through the car window as the ticket person comes up to collect them.

Since I live in Gourock, and the Head Office of CalMac is in Gourock, I went there yesterday with a printout of my booking, to ask for tickets.  No, said the young lady, we do not have a ticket office here. You will need to go to Wemyss Bay.

Today I went to Wemyss Bay.  It costs £3 to park at Wemyss Bay station, and generally you have to park there, as on-street parking is very limited and always full.

At Wemyss bay, I produced my booking form and asked for tickets.  No, said the young gentleman, we can’t print those here.

I went home, £3 poorer, and phoned CalMac.  Is there anywhere I can get ticvkets so that I already have them when I arrive at Oban, I asked.

I explained that I lived in Gourock, but couldn’t get them there, and had gone to Wemyss Bay, and couldn’t  get them there either.

The gentleman on the phone opined that I should have been able to get them at Wemyss Bay, and asked me to hold, which I did for some while.  He then came back to me and confirmed that Wemyss Bay could NOT provide tickets as they did not have access to the right printer for that.

My suggestions, after the gentleman’s “sorry”, that Wemyss Bay SHOULD have access to the right printer, and that Gourock as Head Office SHOULD be able to issue tickets, were met with stony silence.

So on Sunday morning, if it’s blowing a gale and lashing with rain, I will get soaked, twice, going to and coming from the ticket office.

I do not think the CalMac website should proffer the promise “Buy Tickets”.  It should say “Make a reservation”.  They are not the same thing.  A made reservation will not get you on the boat. Only a ticket will do that.

End of rant.

Posted 221 weeks ago


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