Caledonian MacBrayne’s summer 2014 timetables and fares on services to Bute and throughout the west coast of Scotland take effect from today (Friday).
Fares on the Wemyss Bay-Rothesay route have increased by between two and four per cent, depending on the type of ticket purchased.
The most notable change to last year’s fare structure is the validity of the ‘saver return’ ticket, which, for passengers, cars and motorcycles, has been increased from five days to nine following a trial last summer - though only if bought at Wemyss Bay.
The change reduces the cost for those using the Rothesay ferry to visit Butefor a full week; previously such travellers would have had to pay the full return fare for trips lasting any longer than five days.
A nine-day saver return from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay costs £8.60 for a passenger and £34.40 for a car, while last summer a five-day return would have cost £8.30 (passenger) or £33.50 (car) - increases of 3.61 per cent and 2.69 per cent respectively.
However, the nine-day saver return does not extend to all types of vehicle: for motorhomes and caravans, saver returns are still only valid for five days.
Saver returns bought in Rothesay are also only valid for five days, though all tickets purchased on the island, for both the Wemyss Bay and Colintraive ferries, are sold at the lower winter rate, in line with the practice of previous years.
Ten-journey tickets cost £35.50 for a passenger (up from £34.50 last year, an increase of 2.9 per cent) and £121 for a car (up from £118 last year, a rise of 2.5 per cent).
Some of the fare comparisons on the Colintraive-Rhubodach route - where the validity of the saver return ticket remains at five days in both directions - are as follows.
Passenger return from £2.75 (2013) to £2.85 (2014), an increase of 3.64 per cent.
Car five-day saver return from £16.50 to £16.95, an increase of 2.7 per cent.
Passenger ten journey from £10.75 to £11.05, an increase of 2.8 per cent.
Car ten journey from £58 to £60, an increase of 3.45 per cent.
This summer’s timetables on the two Bute routes are virtually identical to previous years, except on the Rhubodach crossing, where the ferry now runs until 9pm each night throughout the year as a result of the recommendations of the Scottish Government’s ferries review.
The new timetables and fares are valid until Saturday, October 26: more details of timetables and fares for individual routes are available at www.calmac.co.uk.