THE head of CalMac has accused STV of “irresponsible reporting” after it said the ferry operator’s website had “crashed”.

Robbie Drummond made the claim after the broadcaster reported on thousands of customers across Scotland experiencing difficulties buying tickets on Wednesday.

He said: “This is irresponsible reporting. The system is live and working, we have taken over 5000 new bookings since 0500 this morning and vessels are sailing.

“Our team will continue to support customers with access difficulties or specific booking enquiries.”

He also replied to a number of other Twitter accounts reporting problems purchasing tickets, including tweets from the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee who said: “Crashed is not entirely accurate. ‘Bug ridden’ more so. Only five sailings viewable per route despite many more timetabled.

“Accounts not working. Concession cards not accepted. Confirmations not arriving. Local offices have gone back to paper backup. Call centre not answering.”

READ MORE: Passengers experience error message on launch day of CalMac new ticket system

It comes on the day CalMac changed to a long-planned online ticketing platform. Drummond repeatedly denied it was due to the “migration” to the new service, but noted in one response: “This is day one of a major change.”

In his response to the Mull and Iona Ferry Committee, he added: “While 5000+ new bookings before 1100 and all sailings operating, there has been some access and payment issue which we are addressing with our partners. This was anticipated and we have a full care team working 24/7 responding to all queries.”

Meanwhile, ScotRail said on Tuesday that CalMac has withdrawn from some of the joint ticketing products it offered along with the rail operator.

As of April 25, CalMac no longer accepts such tickets for ferry travel, which affects the following ScotRail products:

  • All CalMac Rail & Sail tickets
  • Spirit of Scotland
  • Scottish Grand Tour
  • Highland Rover

Claire Dickie, ScotRail's head of retail, said: “We are committed to providing the best possible customer experience for people using our services and we have worked closely with our colleagues at CalMac to ensure that continues.

“Customers purchasing Rail & Sail tickets will now receive a coupon which can be redeemed for a boarding pass when they reach the ferry.

“Unfortunately, some of our other products that had ferry travel as part of the ticket no longer have that included as a result of CalMac’s change to its ticketing system.

“All of our products still offer fantastic value and are very popular with people who want to travel throughout the Highlands and Islands.”