Northern Isles MSPs call for update on road equivalent tariffs for ferries

Written by Jenni Davidson on 9 August 2018 in News

Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur have called on Transport Secretary Michael Matheson for an update on the steps being taken to resolve the impasse on RET

Lerwick - Image credit: swifant via Wikimedia Commons

Northern Isles MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur have called for an update on progress towards introducing road equivalent tariffs (RET) on Northern Isles ferries.

The Scottish Government was due to introduce RETs in the north by the end of June, but ministers were unable to reach agreement with Pentland Ferries on the details of the scheme. 

A stop gap reduction was introduced on Shetland routes between Aberdeen and Lerwick and Kirkwall and Lerwick routes, but there was no reduction for routes to and from Orkney.

A reduction of 40 per cent has been promised, but the MSPs say the current discount for Shetland islanders works out at only 12 per cent as cabins are not in included.

The two Lib Dems MSPs have now written to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson demanding an update on the steps being taken by the Scottish Government to resolve the impasse.

Scott said: “For years, Orkney and Shetland have been excluded from the government’s cheaper ferry fares scheme.

“Then, despite repeated promises over the last year, ministers have yet to deliver on their promises to islanders.

“This has left people in the Shetland angry and frustrated, not least as we see another tourism season come and go with fares barely changing.

“Between Shetland, Kirkwall and Aberdeen the discount announced in June does not include cabins so a family of four islanders travelling from Lerwick to Aberdeen with a car and a cabin now receive a mere 12 per cent reduction in fares.

“This does little to address the prohibitive cost of travel for many isles families.”

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