Public engagement events - 2024

CHFS3 engagement: Purpose

  • Raising awareness of CHFS3 contract development and Islands Connectivity Plan
  • Explore current CHFS2 issues
  • Gain a clearer understanding on community views for developing CHFS3 contract and Islands Connectivity Plan
  • Guidance on how communities can stay informed and participate in the process

Improving the current CHFS2 contract: CHFS3 objectives

  • Safe and sustainable ferry services
  • Affordable integrated travel for remote rural communities
  • Opportunities for employment, business, leisure and tourism
  • Reducing ferry services environmental impact

CHFS2: Examples of current issues

A small selection of CHFS2 issues which were identified through previous Transport Scotland stakeholder engagement sessions.

Various other sources including CHFS2 contract, National Transport Strategy, National Islands Plan, Strategic Transport Projects Review (consultations) and reports from Rural Economy Connectivity Committee, Public Audit Committee, Audit Scotland, and Net Zero Energy and Transport have also been reviewed.

CHFS fleet

Four major ferries beyond operational life; leading to increased faults, delays and cancellations.

Service disruptions

Lack of spare vessels and ineffective maintenance schedules; resulting in frequent disruptions and unreliable services.


E-Booking system launched May 2023 and has gone through numerous iterations since launch.

Capacity and demand

Lack of space available for urgent or essential travel plans.


Window for booking is unbalanced, reserving space versus cancellation. Impacting capacity available to regular users.


Timetables required to be published before October and April but are often delayed. Timetable uncertainty impacts passenger travel plans and local economies (visitors, freight etc).

Performance reporting

Reports on performance and network status are not reflective of the real-time passenger experience.


Lack of engagement around cancellations and disrupted services.

CHFS3: Public consultation

  • Communities have the opportunity to provide meaningful input on the development of the CHFS3 contract and to improve the reliability and efficiency of ferry services in Scotland as such, Transport Scotland will be seeking views on potential ferry service improvements via public consultation.
  • The CHFS3 public consultation remains open until 8 March 2024. Feedback can continue to be provided via email beyond the consultation period to a dedicated mailbox.
  • The public consultation will address key themes identified by Transport Scotland stakeholder engagement, and reviews of various sources including National Transport Strategy, National Islands Plan, Strategic Transport Projects Review (consultations) and reports from Rural Economy Connectivity Committee, Public Audit Committee, Audit Scotland, and Net Zero Energy and Transport.

CHFS2: Emerging Findings

Below is a small selection of possible measures for CHFS3 which have been identified following previous engagement and through discussions with communities and stakeholders so far.

Examples of Possible Measures for CHFS3

Resilience and Reliability

  • Dedicated relief vessel(s) once new vessels are introduced to the fleet.
  • Increased standardisation of vessels to improve interoperability between routes.

Capacity and Demand

  • Spaces available for last minute bookings for islanders and key workers.
  • Operator required to make best use of available deck space.

Community Voice, Transparency and Accountability

  • Communications on service disruption could be regionalised, instead of being managed by HQ.
  • On site communication for users travelling – when boarding commencing, estimated departure and sailing times.. 

Carbon Reduction and Environmental Impact

  • Explore where public transport connections could be improved to make alternative travel modes more feasible.
  • Full environmental impact of ferry services to be reported e.g. Climate impact report.
  • Removal of single use takeaway cups, takeaway food containers and plastics on ferries.

Onward and Connecting Travel

  • Improved connectivity to ensure that ferry services align with bus and rail links, even during disruption.
  • Development of SMART ticketing to streamline booking processes.


  • Regular accessibility audits to take place with accessibility groups such as Mobility Access Committee Scotland (MACS), with the aim of improving accessibility at ports and onboard vessels.

Freight Services

  • Freight to be encouraged to travel via non-peak or dedicated freight services where practicable.

Monitoring and Review

  • Suite of Performance metrics to cover all aspects of the ferry experience including customer satisfaction, service performance and sustainability.
  • Real time accurate performance reporting through a user-friendly application (app) to reflect the true passenger experience. 

CHFS3: Contract development milestones

  • November 2023 onwards - Stakeholder and community engagement
  • December 2023 - CHFS3 Public consultation go-live
  • January 2024 - ICP Public consultation go-live
  • March 2024 - CHFS3 Consultation closes
  • April 2024 - CHFS3 Public consultation report published
  • May 2024 - ICP Public consultation closes
  • May 2024 onwards - Update on CHFS3 public consultation
  • October 2024 - New contract starts

CHFS3: Opportunity to share your views

Feedback provided by stakeholders and communities is crucial in helping us serve you better. 

Planned Engagement

  • Community Engagement: Ongoing for first half of 2024.
  • Public Consultation: Remains open until 8 March 2024.

Open Engagement

  • Email: CHFS3 feedback and queries can be sent via ICP feedback and queries can be sent via
  • Writing: Views and CHFS3 feedback forms can be returned by post to:
    CHFS3 Consultation
    Transport Scotland, George House
    2nd Floor, 36 North Hanover Street
    Glasgow G12AD.

Key consultation themes

You are invited to share your feedback on how to improve services against the identified key themes, either by adding a post-it note against specific themes on this document, by filling in the engagement feedback form or via the public consultation in early December.

  • Resilience and Reliability
  • Community Voice, Transparency and Accountability
  • Onward and Connecting Travel
  • Freight Services
  • Capacity and Demand
  • Carbon Reduction and Environmental Impact
  • Accessibility
  • Monitoring and Review

Islands connectivity plan