Oct 3 2007 Paisley Daily Express
HUNDREDS of years of tradition are under threat as transport chiefs consider sinking the famous Renfrew Ferry.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport is carrying out a review that could see the ferry being replaced by a footbridge.
A ferry service has operated from Renfrew across the River Clyde to Yoker in Glasgow for around 200 years.
But transport bosses estimate that the two ferries currently operating on the route will need to be replaced within two years – at a cost of £2million.
They will decide the fate of the ferry service once they have completed a feasibility study which will look at the various options open to them.
However, Renfrew North Councillor Alex Murrin believes many people in the town would be disappointed to see the ferry being scrapped.
The Labour man said: “The Renfrew Ferry has been there for 200-odd years. People were upset when the old chain-pulled service was lost and I imagine they would feel the same way if the current service is replaced by a bridge.
“I think they’ll want the ferries to stay.”
SPT bosses insist the existing ferries have become costly to maintain and point out that neither of them is compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.
However, the organisation’s chief executive, Gordon Maclennan said the feasibility study should not be seen as a “recommendation to close the Renfrew Ferry.”
He added: “Given that the current vessels will be beyond repair in just two years, we feel it is the perfect time to look at all our options and decide which will be most cost effective and which will most improve the customer experience.
“We are asking the question ‘Would a pedestrian footbridge be a viable and practical option?’
“But, similarly, we’re investigating the option of continuing the existing service.”
Councillor Derek Mackay, leader of Renfrewshire Council, said a link between Renfrew and Yoker remains vital for the Paisley area.
“It’s important that we look at all the social, transport, economic and environmental issues involved in maintaining and improving this connection,” he added.
More than 150,000 passengers are carried every year by the Renfrew Ferry. A single ticket costs £1 but the service is subsidised to the tune of £400,000 a year.
Mr Murrin said the possibility of a bridge being built should be dismissed.
He added: “I think the idea is ridiculous on the grounds of cost alone. The cost of building a bridge would be prohibitive and certainly much more than £2million.”