Bute MP claims SNP have ‘fiddled the figures’ over Calmac RET advertisment

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A BUTE MP has hit out at the SNP for what he has described as ‘fiddling the figures’ on a Caledonian MacBrayne advertisement relating to Road Equivalent Tariff.

Alan Reid, MP for Argyll and Bute, contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to complain that the ‘RET’ symbol on Calmac’s website under ‘CalMac Ferry Travel Timetables & Fares’ was misleading.

The basis for his argument was that consumers would understand ‘RET’ and ‘Road Equivalent Tariff’ mean that the cost of the ferry journey would be the same as it would cost to drive the same distance on the road, whereas Mr Reid claimed that the price per mile for a car and driver on certain ferry routes would in fact exceed what it would cost to drive that distance.

Given that RET is a policy implemented by the Scottish Government, ASA felt ‘it would not be appropriate’ for them to ‘adjudicate on the policy itself, including the way in which RET itself is calculated’, but instead assessed whether the advertisment was clear on what RET actually means.

As a result, Caledonian MacBrayne have agreed to amend their advertisment, providing further information about RET, also providing a link to Transport Scotland where customers can read more about it.

Mr Reid, following the decision, stated: “The Advertising Standards Authority investigation has caught the SNP out fiddling the figures. So called RET fares are far more than the cost of driving the same distance by road which is what Road Equivalent Tariff is supposed to stand for.

“Firstly the SNP have added on to every fare an extra £5 per car and £2 per passenger, including the driver.

“Secondly the SNP double charge the driver. It’s obvious that the cost of the driver getting from A to B by road is the cost of the car getting from A to B. However the SNP have added on top of the vehicle costs a driver’s fare “based on the level of fares per mile on other public transport modes in Scotland.”

“Thirdly the SNP have based their mileage rates on very expensive gas-guzzling cars. The RET formula assumes that it costs 80p a mile to drive a car – clearly nonsense for most cars.”

“Now that the truth is out and the SNP have been caught fiddling the figures, I hope the SNP Government will alter their so-called RET fare structure so that the cost of travel by ferry will be the same as driving the same distance by road, which is what they promised in their manifesto.”