Blue Badge holders will be able to access reduced vehicle fares on services to and from Bute, and throughout the CalMac network, from October this year.
The 25 per cent discount for Blue Badge holders will be applied on Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) vehicle fares, which are due to come into effect across the whole of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service [CHFS] network at the start of the 2015-16 winter timetable.
The discount will be available on car, motorhome and motorbike fares.
In cases where the new discounted RET fares are more expensive than the previously available discount, the fares will be capped at the lower level.
The discount will be open to both islanders and non-islanders as long as they hold a Blue Badge.
Transport and islands minister Derek Mackay said: “We want our islands and the attractions they offer to be as open and accessible as possible, so I’m very pleased to announce these new discounted vehicle fares for Blue Badge holders.
“In cases where the new discounted fares are higher than the old ones, they will be capped at the lower level. This means ferry travel continues to be attractive and affordable to everyone.”
The new, lower, RET fares will come into effect on Bute slightly earlier than the rest of the network - on October 1, to be precise - to coincide with the start of major repairs to the Wemyss Bay ferry terminal which will cause Rothesay’s ferry services to be diverted to and from Gourock for a period of 20 weeks.
Other concessionary schemes in operation for disabled island residents will continue when RET fares are introduced.
Reader Anji Badley welcomed the ‘blue badge’ news, but suggested that the idea be extended to a Forces Discount for Armed Forces veterans and personnel.
She said: “I asked every time before I booked our ferry home if CalMac do a Forces discount and was always told no.
“My husband served with the Royal Military Police for 23 years and both sets of parents live in the Outer Hebrides.
“The amount of Forces personnel who live in Scotland that would visit the Inner and Outer Hebrides if the ferry was cheaper would double! Veterans would visit home more frequently.”
We are pursuing Anji’s question with CalMac and the Scottish Government.