Summer’s almost here - for CalMac at least...

Caledonian MacBrayne's summer timetables and fares come into operation this Friday, March 29.
Caledonian MacBrayne's summer timetables and fares come into operation this Friday, March 29.

Caledonian MacBrayne’s 2013 summer timetables and fares come into operation this Friday, March 29.

The difference between the company’s summer and winter fares, which are set by Scottish ministers, means a five-day saver return, bought at Wemyss Bay for a car and one passenger, will cost £32.80 on Thursday and £41.85 on Friday - a contrast which has caused much angst among regular users in the past and will almost certainly do so again this year.

The five-day saver return fare for a single foot passenger is also notably different (£6.80 in winter on Thursday, £8.35 in summer on Friday), although other comparisons are not quite so marked - a ten journey ticket, long acknowledged as delivering substantial savings, will set you back £33.50 (for a foot passenger) if bought at Wemyss Bay on March 28 and £34.50 if purchased at the same port the following day.

The winter-versus-summer contrasts are also evident on the Rhubodach-Colintraive route, where a five day saver ticket for a car and one passenger will cost £14.45 on the last day of the winter timetable and £19.25 on the first day of summer.

Tickets bought on Bute are, as in previous years, charged at the winter rate throughout the summer timetable period, which runs until October 19.