Ferry fares based on Road Equivalent Tariff will be introduced to Bute’s two routes in October 2015.
Transport minister Keith Brown announced on Tuesday that RET fares would be introduced at the start of the 2015-16 winter timetable on all routes where it is not already in operation.
The news means there will be a 12-month period, following the introduction of an RET trial on Arran’s ferry routes this autumn, when the 55-minute sail from Ardrossan to Brodick will be cheaper than the 35-minute crossing from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay.
Exact details of the RET fares to be introduced from October 2015 have yet to be announced.
“We promised to extend RET to the remaining West Coast and Clyde islands within the term of this Parliament,” Mr Brown said, “so I’m delighted to announce it will go ahead in October 2015.
“This is a key commitment in the Ferries Plan that will be welcomed by the communities who use these services, as well as visitors to the islands.
“We have already seen the positive impact of RET on other ferry routes around Scotland – this further roll out is expected to bring similar economic and tourism benefits.
“While the fares for the 2015/16 winter timetable have still to be set, announcing this date now will allow local businesses to plan ahead for the introduction of the RET pilot.
“We would expect a reduction in fares to lead to an increase in demand on these services, particularly during the summer timetable. We will therefore work with members of the affected communities to find ways of managing this demand.
“The introduction of RET on ferry services to Arran in October 2014 will also provide valuable information that will help us with demand management around the roll out to the rest of the CHFS network.
”The Scottish Government remains committed to assessing the affordability of ferry travel to and from our island communities, with the aim of bringing in cheaper fares for islanders, tourists and businesses.”
The routes that will benefit from the roll out of RET from October 2015 are:
- Berneray – Leverburgh (Sound of Harris)
- Barra – Eriskay (Sound of Barra)
- Sconser – Raasay (Raasay)
- Mallaig – Armadale (Skye)
- Mallaig – Eigg – Muck – Rum – Canna (Small Isles)
- Oban – Craignure (Mull)
- Tobermory – Kilchoan (Mull)
- Lochaline – Fishnish (Mull)
- Fionnphort – Iona (Iona)
- Oban – Achnacroish (Lismore)
- Wemyss Bay – Rothesay (Bute)
- Colintraive – Rhubodach (Bute)
- Largs – Cumbrae Slip (Cumbrae)
- Tarbert – Portavadie