Bute’s Westminster MP has criticised the Scottish Government’s decision not to roll out RET ferry fares to all west coast ferry routes until October 2015.
Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown confirmed earlier this week that RET fares would be introduced on all CalMac routes where they do not already apply from the start of the 2015-16 winter timetable.
But the Liberal Democrats’ Alan Reid has joined in criticism of the decision to bring in RET across the CalMac network a year after the introduction of a pilot scheme on Arran - which means that for a full 12 months the 55-minute crossing from Ardrossan to Brodick will be substantially cheaper than the 35-minute sail from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay.
“I welcome the fact that all islands served by CalMac are to get RET eventually,” Mr Reid said.
“However I don’t understand why islands like Bute, Mull, Iona and Lismore have to wait another year. These islands are being treated unfairly by the Scottish Government and are only to get RET seven years after it was first introduced in the Western Isles.
“There is no reason why RET should not be extended to all islands this year at the same time it is extended to Arran.”
Unsurprisingly, a different view is expressed by Michael Russell, the SNP’s MSP for Argyll and Bute, who said: “I am very pleased that the Government has now confirmed it will fully implement the SNP’s manifesto commitment made in 2011 and role [sic] out RET to all the island routes before the 2016 Scottish election.
“Mull and Bute will benefit greatly from this decision and I look forward to helping the communities take full advantage of it.”