CalMac’s bid makes almost 350 commitments to improving the service, proposing to invest £6m in vessel and port improvements, increasing customer service and providing more opportunities for local employment, including more apprenticeships.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said:“I’m very pleased to announce CalMac Ferries Ltd as our preferred bidder for the next Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract.
“CalMac have a long and proud tradition of running the Clyde and Hebrides routes, and the company is woven into the fabric of the communities they serve.
“CalMac will better manage demand to drive an increase in traffic, as well as make the ferry services more attractive with the introduction of smart ticketing on key routes.
“This new contract looks to make further improvements our ferry services, and I look forward to CalMac starting the new contract later this year.”
Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac added: "We are proud to be given the opportunity to transform ferry passengers' experience across the west coast of Scotland and to work closely with our partners to connect towns, cities and communities like never before.
"Our successful bid demonstrates our ability to provide innovative service improvements and value for money for customers. Drawing on our experience in the UK ferry market where we have won a number of awards, our bid delivers industry-leading customer care and high standards of reliability.”
The tender price for the next contract is around £900m for eight years from the 1 October 2016.