§ MR. NICOL (Argyll)
To ask the Postmaster General how often during the past year has the mail steamer "Glencoe" delivered the mails at 4 p.m. at Port Ellen, Islay, and how often have the road mails from Portaskaig been delivered at Port Ellen at 7.55, the schedule times; whether the steamer or the road mail is the cause of the detention, and have any or either incurred any penalty; and, if so, has such penalty been imposed.
(Answered Mr. Austen Chamberlain.) The schedule time of arrival of the mails at Port Ellen is 4.25 p.m. when conveyed to that port by direct steamer (and not 4 p.m. as stated in the Question). When conveyed by steamer to Portaskaig and thence by road to Port Ellen the mails are due at 8.25 p.m. (and not 7.55 p.m. as stated in the Question). From the 1st of January to the 31st of October last the direct steamer arrived at Port Ellen on seventy-two occasions at or before the scheduled time, and on 101 occasions after that hour; but the average lateness for the 173 clays has not amounted to a punter of an hour. During the last four months, comprising the season in which the mails and traffic are heavier than at any other time of the year, the 859 mails sent via Portaskaig have reached Port Ellen at or before the scheduled time on four occasions. On the other thirty occasions there has been some delay, owing in great part to irregularity in the working of the train service to Gourock; and the delays in the steamer service have not been sufficient to call for the imposition of a penalty. The road service between Portaskaig and Port Ellen has been well performed, but it has lately been necessary to allow additional time for the journey on account of the detour which has to be made through the closing of a bridge, which had been damaged by floods.