I NOTE the letter (September 4) from the managing director of CalMac, Robbie Drummond. I feel that there's a lot of obfuscation in his correspondence and there will be many island residents, businesses and tourists who will not share his view. He should speak to passengers who were caught up in the consequences of yet another mechanical failure at Ardrossan last week. This entailed lengthy delays, cancellations and a detour to Troon. Many car bookings were cancelled and passengers were forced to abandon their vehicles and continue on foot. It was nothing to do with the unfortunate Waverley incident or Covid. It was another consequence of lack of investment in the necessary infrastructure and provision of a viable port of refuge.

It was Mr Drummond who, as an in-house employee, led the bid for the current contract. But he must surely have known that the fleet provided to him by CMAL was well beyond its sell-by date with an increasing catalogue of breakdowns and that there is no spare vessel to cover any such contingencies. And yet he still signed.

In the 13 years since this administration came to power in Holyrood it has built half the vessels that were built in the previous 13 years. This is true no matter how it is measured – vessel tonnage, vessel length, passenger capacity or vehicle capacity. Yet at the same time demand for capacity increases on all routes year on year.

Mr Drummond claiming credit for the outcome of a self-fulfilling Covid-related survey or historically "for the best fish n’ chips served on the Minch" and other accolades does nothing for those of us who know that the fleet is unreliable and unsustainable and is putting an unnecessary burden on islands' economies and way of life.

I would urge all involved to face the reality of what is actually happening. The First Minister has not addressed this ongoing scandal and I don't suppose she will now. Transport Scotland and CMAL continue to ignore the world-renowned ferry experts Professor Alf Baird and Roy Pederson and the money wasted on Mackay's Folly at Fergusons could probably have replaced the entire fleet.

Neil HC Arthur, Kilpatrick, Isle of Arran.

FROM personal experience I support the view of Bob Buntin (Letters, September 8) re public transport connections. I have several times just missed or just caught the southbound bus at Rothesay after leaving the ferry, but I encountered the most astonishing failure to join up in Barra last year. On this occasion the Castlebay bus left the airport within five minutes of the aircraft arriving. Passengers who wished to collect their luggage or have a photograph taken close to the aircraft were going to be disappointed when they looked for their onward transport. We had to share a taxi into Castlebay. What exactly was the rush ? Leaving on time was obviously more important than earning some fares. Speaking with locals this problem was apparently well known.

CalMac has raised its game over the years but it still disappoints me that on the most bicycle-used ferry (Largs-Cumbrae) there is no proper provision for cycle storage en route, and the method of storing cycles seems to be down to the whim of the deck-crew.

Tourism is a major industry in Scotland, yet some of the service providers seem to have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. It's not good enough.

Arthur Kirkpatrick, Largs.