There are no roads to Inverie, the main community on the Knoydart Peninsula, or to Tarbet, a tiny settlement on the south shore of Loch Nevis. So the only way to avoid miles of walking to either is to take a service from Mallaig, which has been run by Bruce Watt.
But he expects the Highland Council to confirm he has lost the subsidised contract.
In a community of just 120, locals are reluctant to speak against Sandaig Ltd, which said: "We are 99.5% sure we have got the contract." But some have submitted questions to the council to receive "no response".
They said: "It would be fair to say the majority have serious concerns."
The council said the contract had not yet been awarded. However, Mr Watt said: "We have lost it after 45 years. It is about cost-cutting.
"The company which has won the contract has boats that can carry only 12. We can carry 81 passengers every time and hardly miss a trip."
Janet Sellars of Sandaig Ltd said: "We started running freight but have been running a regular service for three years. We have three boats and have another one lined up which hopefully will be able to carry more than 12."