Here is a 75 year old (island resident) commuter’s view of the first time they used the pedestrian walkway at the new Brodick terminal on Friday 20th April- 1105 service, returning on the 1230.
Left home in my car early, to find no vacant spaces in the car park, adjacent to the terminal building. Returned to the area by the fuel pumps and was lucky to find one in front of the Tourist office. Walked over to the terminal building and observed the following, some of the cars had been there for over 24 hrs, because I witnessed them on Wednesday, parked in exactly the same place. I also observed a few cars parked in the disabled area with no blue badges – can you blame them?
Cal-Mac need to manage the parking facility- possibly with signs limiting parking to 24 hrs and or no overnight parking permitted, for example. No doubt like the 30 minute notice displayed at the parking area by the fuel pumps-they will be ignored?
Entered the reception area, which was not busy and paid for my return ticket- there was no queue. Walked up the stair to enter the waiting lounge- only comment, based on a previous occasion, on busier times the person collecting the tickets should be further back to avoid a queue building up on the stair. The 1105 was reasonably busy with a good number in the waiting area by the time the ferry docked- on time.
Cal Mac Staff were assisting folks with limited vision or who required wheel chair transport, before the passengers were called to board. The walk along the pedestrian high level gangway was interesting, good views of the area and the Ferry with time to admire the engineering of the structure. There have been recently, a lot of negative reports on face book and in the Banner. I found the walk, with or without luggage extremely easy and it only took a few minutes to board the vessel. Much more comfortable than the previous method, especially with bad weather or high tides.
Friday was a dry day with a fairish stiff breeze off the sea, however on days of inclement weather conditions [rain or similar] the only part not protected is the final 12” as you board the vessel. In bad weather conditions, accessing the ferry will be so much better for everyone.
On returning to Brodick, folks as usual were queueing to depart, everyone giving an impression of being in a hurry. However, despite the narrow bridge to gain access to the walkway, everyone disembarked very quickly. Soon I arrived at the exit stair, which has a small turn mid-way. Found the stair very easy to navigate and before you had time to converse with your neighbour / friend, we were through the exit door then faced with the long walk back to the car. Both journeys ran to timetable and the turnaround was completed well within the 30 mins scheduled.
In summary- I found the experience most enjoyable. The real problem for commuters at Brodick is before you enter the terminal and at Ardrossan presently, once you disembark the ferry. Perhaps the proposed investment at Ardrossan harbour will change the existing poor facilities, which is aggravated by wet weather.
The only problem I found was the absence of vacant parking (this is not a long stay area) facilities in the area of the terminal and the long walk back to the car, which would have been even longer if I had to park by the Co-op.
Which raises another question – the amount of parking spaces available by the terminal building has increased by around 60% or even 70% yet parking at the Brodick terminal is worse than it was before. (This is not the fault of CalMac) Public??????????!