Bute’s community councillors have poured scorn on attempts by transport minister Keith Brown to defend the Scottish Government’s roll-out of ferry fares based on road equivalent tariff.
Mr Brown has come in for sustained criticism on Bute after the Scottish Government announced earlier this year that fares based on RET would not be introduced until the autumn of 2015 - 1212 months later than on Arran.
Replying to a letter from BCC secretary Mick Common outlining the community council’s concerns, Mr Brown said the Scottish Government was not in a position to bring forward the timetable for the roll-out of RET due to budget pressures imposed by Westminster.
Mr Brown also said the Arran RET pilot would “allow us to learn valuable lessons, for example in demand management during the busy summer period”.
He also pointed out that Bute, along with Mull, had been chosen for pilots of a nine-day saver return ticket and electric vehicle discount schemes.
But Bute community councillor Frank Baxter told the organisation’s July meeting this week: “Keith Brown’s letter is total nonsense.
“My reading of it is ‘a big boy did it and ran away, but we’ll give you a sweetie instead’. And the sweetie is a nine day return which will be taken away when RET comes in anyway.”
Mr Baxter’s colleague Ian Hopkins said Mr Brown’s comments about pilot schemes were “not feasible”, as RET had already been piloted in the Western Isles, while Kevin Bye observed that the electric vehicle discount was of little relevance to Bute, since there are no charging points on Bute or anywhere nearby on the mainland.