FERRY trips to Helensburgh are to be scrapped in a bid to save cash.

At present Clyde Marine Motoring runs a service from Gourock to Kilcreggan and Helensburgh from Monday to Saturday all year round as well as a Sunday service during the summer.

According to Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) , passengers are mainly workers from Faslane and Coulport naval bases travelling between Gourock and Kilcreggan on weekdays.

An on-board survey in July last year found only 8% of the passengers make use of the ferry to Helensburgh.

The ferry contract is due to be renewed on April 1 and SPT invited tenders to operate a service between Gourock and Kilcreggan from Monday to Saturday.

Clyde Marine Motoring was the only company to apply and put in a five-year tender for almost £1.8 million –the equivalent of £360,000 per year.

It was decided to re-advertise the contract and a new tender was received from Clydelink which says it can provide a Monday to Saturday service from Gourock to Kilcreggan at a cost of £875,000 or £175,000 a year.

If SPT members back the plan, it will mean a half-hour road trip between Kilcreggan and Helensburgh and an hour-long drive between Helensburgh and Gourock. There is an infrequent bus service.

Argyll and Bute spokesperson for transport and infrastructure, Duncan MacIntyre, said: "The route is a lifeline to those who do use it and the impact on them will be significant."