Sunday 31 July 2011

Krisis at Kilcreggan [2]

Connection Complications

fbb and Mrs fbb, together with friend Julia, are taking the equivalent of a sail "doon the watter" by crossing from Kilcreggan to Dunoon on the little ferry called "Sea Bus".
See "Krisis at Kilcreggan I" (read again). Ideally they would have liked to pick up the boat at Helensburgh ...
and enjoy the longer crossing, but breakfast timing and an evening appointment in Ayr meant the the 1150 from Kilcreggan was the only possible choice.
And there was a bus from Helensburgh which arrived at Kilcreggan Pier at 1037, a good 13 minutes to make the connection.
If the gang had been travelling in Switzerland, there would have been no problem and no question. The connection would be totally and utterly secure. But, to avoid a tedious retracing of the route back to Glasgow, fbb wanted to be sure. So, foolishly, he rang Traveline. Stupid boy!

It was obvious that the Traveline man had no idea where Kilcreggan was, and could offer no guidance as to connections. He did, however, after some minutes of gritted teeth prompting by fbb, suggest ringing Stratclyde PTE (sponsors of the ferry service), but no, he did not have their number.

Fortunately fbb had the Kilcreggan Ferry leaflet.
So fbb rang the number on the back. Stupid Boy! No, she, an employee of SPT, knew nothing about connections; but fbb could ring Traveline. Would fbb like the number?

More gritted teeth explanation from fbb who then asked; could he be put through to the boat company? No, she did not have a number for them; hers was the office responsible for the ferry.

After debate with the rest of the party, fbb decided to risk it ...
...and then wished he hadn't!

The bus (Wilsons of Rhu, seen here at Rhu) left Helensburgh Station on time (nearly) but all the way through the suburbs those inconvenient intrusions into smooth running of bus travel, namely passengers, kept getting on and off. They all had a little chat with the driver, so much so that by Garelochhead the bus was nearly 15 minutes late! Goodbye ferry.
A slightly swifter swish along the lochside at Rosneath meant that fbb and gang arrived at Kilcreggan per with just a few seconds to spare. The ferryman was just about the haul up the plank, when a puce and perspiring fbb ran (ran? hobbled slightly faster!) down the pier gesticulating wildly. He was too breathless to shout.
Made it - Just!!

There was no evidence that there was an offical connection. The breathless party of three DOUBLED the number of passengers. fbb wonders if more would contemplate the link if it were advertised with some willingness to connect. It would in Switzerland. 

Tailpiece : later at Ayr, fbb was perusing the timetable book for the Clyde Coast railway services. Here, again, was the schedule for the Kilcreggan ferry AND the phone number of the Ferry Company Office, a detail apparently unknown to SPT. Perhaps SPT should take a look at their own slogan:-
fbb wrote a stiff epistle to SPT who replied apologetically with the offer of a free all-day ticket on the Glasgow underground. What a treat, NOT! The current leaflet still gives the "we know nothing" phone number.
But, for fbb and chums, the sun came out and the views were magnificent. Just this once, the panic and the tension were worth it.

But the panic and tension were quite unnecessary. Wouldn't it have been more helpful if there had been someone on the phone who knew where Kilcreggan was? Wouldn't it have been helpful to be able to speak to the people who ran the services concerned?

Instead, the impersonal and ineffective octopus-like tentacles of Traveline curl inexorably round reality and crush it totally. Will it EVER get better? Yet another flock of Gloucester Old Spots swoop low over the Firth of Clyde! 

Next blog : due Monday August 1st  

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