Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Transport secretary urged to resolve delay to cheaper Orkney ferry fares

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson is under pressure
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson is under pressure

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson is facing demands to outline how he will resolve a dispute that has delayed the introduction of cheaper fares on ferries to Orkney.

Northern isles MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott have written to the SNP minister after islanders were left “angry and frustrated” when a deadline was missed for the start of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme.

The long-awaited initiative, which was introduced on services to the Hebrides a decade ago, was due to be rolled out on routes to the northern isles by the end of June.

But the Scottish Government left residents dismayed after admitting that the start of RET would face fresh delays because of a failure to reach an agreement with operators.

Instead, fare cuts of about 20% for passengers and cars were introduced on the Aberdeen-Lerwick and Kirkwall-Lerwick services as a “first step” from the start of July, but services across the Pentland Firth were not included.

Mr McArthur, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney, said: “For years, Orkney has been excluded from the government’s cheaper ferry fares scheme.

“Then, despite repeated promises over the last year, ministers failed to reach agreement that would allow Road Equivalent Tariff to be introduced on external ferry routes serving Orkney and Shetland.

“This has left people in Orkney angry and frustrated, not least as we see another tourism season come and go with no sign of the cheaper fares.

“Worse still, there has been no indication from the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to try to unlock this impasse.

“The transport secretary must set out clearly what he has done and plans to do to reach a resolution.

“He must also reaffirm that any fare reductions will be backdated to the end of June this year as previously promised.  The funding has been set aside and must benefit those using these lifeline services.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We remain committed to delivering reduced ferry fares to the northern isles and are currently undertaking further work on the issue.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]