The decision was taken last week by the Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP to introduce Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) pricing to all routes not all already using it and this will commence in October 2015.
This seems like great news!
However the Isle of Arran will have the RET fares from October 2014 to provide "valuable information" on demand management.
We on Bute can see no real reason to delay the introduction of the RET fares to the whole Clyde ferry network.
- The far greater number of Wemyss Bay - Rothesay sailings will provide far better data on demand management and anyway...
- Surely the years of trials to the Outer Hebrides and the introduction of RET to Islay, Colonsay & Gigha in 2012 will have provided more than enough information.
The economy of Bute is almost entirely dependent on visitors whether for tourism or on business. Crucially, for a 12 month period fares to Arran will be cheaper than to Bute as a result of this decision. The effect on the Bute economy for that 12 months could be devastating as tourists choose to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Arran instead of Bute.
Please introduce RET pricing on the Bute and Cumbrae ferry routes in the Spring of 2015. With major disruption to the Wemyss Bay route due in the Spring because of pier renovations Bute needs all the help we can get to salvage our summer!