The latest announcement by Transport Minister Keith Brown has left many regular ferry passengers shaking their heads. Fares on all lifeline ferry services could be based on the cost of travelling the same distance by road as the MP believes that the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme ‘underpins the way forward for ferry fares’. The new system, which has already been trialled in the Western Isles, will see fares go in line with the cost of travelling the same distance by road. So, depending on when and where you’re travelling, fares may be cheaper, or in some instances a little more expensive. On the whole however, passengers are a little concerned at the changes as they don’t want to run the risk of rising prices. It seems only time will tell with regards to costs.
Despite apprehensions, the scheme looks to be staying in the Western Isles where it was trialled. Last month the Scottish Government said RET would become standard in that area and the scheme will now be tested for passengers and cars across Argyll and Clyde islands in stages across this five year parliamentary session.
According to the draft Ferries plan, the current fares system was ‘unnecessarily complicated’ and ‘no longer fit for purpose’
It therefore proposes replacing the current route-specific system for fares with one system, making RET the basis for single fares for passengers and cars.
Labour transport spokeswoman Elaine Murray has slammed the idea. She labelled the draft plan ‘a Christmas wish list of improvements, with no serious indication of how they would be funded.’