DISRUPTION to the Kilcreggan ferry brings problems to people and communities on both sides of the Clyde.

Disruption to the places at risk of depopulation on the Roseneath peninsula, places which need a good ferry service to make shops, services and the IRH accessible.

Disruption to the workforce commuting to naval bases on the Clyde, leaving from Gourock each morning.

Disruption to the tourists who make such a big contribution to the Scottish economy.

Last week in a Scottish Parliament debate, I raised the frustrations ferry passengers have expressed about their experience travelling with Clydelink and I pressed for action on their behalf.

There are frequent faults and cancellations, staffing issues, safety defects and fundamental questions to be asked about the ability of the current operator to sustain a safe, consistent and reliable service.

The alternative to the ten to 15 minute ferry crossing between Gourock and Kilcreggan is a 90 minute trip by land, a trip which many either cannot afford or do not have the time to make.

It is utterly unacceptable. Clydelink have a contract with SPT to provide the Gourock – Kilcreggan service. It is not optional. It is a contractual requirement.

According to the Tele, the extension to the contract agreed by SPT earlier this year was worth £320,000. That’s £320,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Clydelink have been unable to demonstrate that they can honour that contract and meet the agreed terms of service. I believe that the contract should therefore be withdrawn and that a new operator should be found at the earliest possible opportunity.

Reports that SPT are tendering early to replace Clydelink with a more reliable operator are welcome but SPT only commissions the Kilcreggan service in the first place for historic reasons.

It is an anomalous situation.

There is no reason why the SNP government in Edinburgh should not make good on their promise to assume responsibility for the service.

The misery endured by passengers has gone on for long enough. The time has come for the government intervene and deliver a fairer deal for passengers.

As I said in the Scottish Parliament, no more delays, no more prevarication. Just get it done.