Passengers using some Clyde and Hebrides ferry services (CHFS) will see large reductions in fares with the roll out of the road equivalent tariff (RET), it was announced yesterday.
Following the phased introduction of RET – which pegs fares to equivalent cost of travelling the same distance by road – all remaining routes will begin to benefit from lower prices from October.
The price of a single passenger fare will fall by an average of 44%, whilst car fares will be cut by an average of 55%.
As well as bring fares down, where RET would be more expensive than the standard multi-journey single equivalent, fares will be capped at the lower level.
Transport and Islands Minister Derek Mackay unveiled details of the last stage of the roll out on a visit to Mull, one of the islands to benefit.
“As minister for transport and islands I’m well aware of the crucial role our lifeline ferry services play for the communities they serve, so I’m delighted to confirm that the RET roll out will bring significant fare reductions for passengers,” he said.
“The roll out of RET on other routes has been a real success, bringing benefits to local economies and boosting the tourist trade, so I’m sure this will come as welcome news to locals and visitors.”
Mr Mackay said because the government understood concerns over the affordability of ferry journeys, the more expensive multi-journey discount tickets would be capped at the lower level.
“This will ensure these lifeline ferry services remain affordable for the remote communities that depend on them,” he said.
“Lower fares will inevitably lead to an increase in traffic on these services, but CalMac will have the opportunity to bring forward plans to manage this demand.
“The operator will engage with communities in due course, and any demand management measures will be agreed with these communities before they are introduced.”
RET was first introduced on the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree in 2008 and extended to Islay, Colonsay and Gigha in 2012 and to Arran in 2014.
It will be extended to route covering Bute, Mull, the sounds of Barra and Harris, Skye, Raasay, Cumbrae, Lismore, the small isles and the mainland route of Tarbert-Portavadie.