CalMac has taken the decision to close its waiting room at Gourock Ferry Terminal each night at 6.30pm following a spate of anti-social behaviour incidents.
It is understood there have been a number of disturbances caused by young people congregating in and around the waiting room in recent months, with the first incident being reported to police on August 28.
Inspector Andy Durk of the Greenock Community Policing Team said: “We are aware of recent issues in antisocial behaviour incidents involving young people near the ferry terminal in Gourock recently and are acutely aware of the disruptive effect this has on the local community.
“Dedicated patrols are carried out in the area by officers and community wardens to provide reassurance to the community as well as engaging with young people and discouraging antisocial behaviour.”
The decision comes as we head further into winter, the time when shelter is most required by those using the ferry. Timetable changes causing some train services from Glasgow Central to no longer meet the ferry has also increased reliance on the waiting room which houses customer toilets, including a disabled facility as well as seating areas for passengers.
Tommy Gore, Area Operations Manager (Clyde) for CalMac, said: “The waiting room is being closed early to protect passengers and staff following a number of anti-social incidents, which we are actively addressing with Police Scotland. Our port staff remain on site until the ferry stops running and are happy to open the room for passengers who would like to shelter while they are waiting.”
CalMac has advised, however, that the ferry terminal is always manned during operating hours. Staff are located in an office beside the disabled parking bays and across from the drop off point, should any customers need assistance. If no staff are visible passengers can call the CalMac contact centre on 0800 066 5000 to be put in touch with pier staff.
Chair of the Cowal Transport forum, Councillor Alan Reid told this newspaper: “The verbal abuse of CalMac staff and the vandalism of the waiting room is unacceptable. I’ve written to the Chief Superintendent in charge of the police in Inverclyde and asked him to devote the police time needed to work with CalMac staff to stamp out this anti-social behaviour so that the waiting room can be re-opened safely to law-abiding passengers.”
It is understood that CalMac is working with the police to tackle the problem.