The Scottish Government has been accused of making a “major mistake” in its timetable for bringing ferry fares based on road equivalent tariff (RET) to Scotland’s islands.
Local Argyll and Bute councillor Robert Macintyre told Bute Community Council this week that the decision to introduce RET fares on the Arran route this autumn would leave Bute at a serious disadvantage.
“Arran, Bute and Cumbrae were all in one county at one point, so I don’t see why all three couldn’t get RET at the same time,” Cllr Macintyre said.
“I hate to say it, but I think it’s a major, major mistake by the current Scottish Government.”
RET fares were first introduced on routes to the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree in 2008, and to Colonsay, Islay and Gigha in 2012.
Transport minister Keith Brown announced in 2011 that Arran would follow - in what was described by the government as “a further RET pilot” - in October 2014, and that other islands, including Bute, would get RET “within the term of this [Scottish] Parliament” - i.e., potentially as late as May 2016.