Bute’s constituency MSP says he fully supports calls from the island’s business community to lower the cost of ferry travel - and has promised to lobby for fares based on road equivalent tariff to be introduced to Bute at the same time as they come to Arran.
But at a meeting in Rothesay on Tuesday, Michael Russell warned that the Scottish Government’s limited budget meant reducing the cost of ferry fares would lead to cuts in the budgets of other public services.
At Tuesday’s meeting in the Glenburn Hotel, Mr Russell said: “As your local MSP I would like to see the lowest ferry fares it is possible to provide, not just for Bute but all over Argyll and Bute.
“But every part of the Scottish Government’s budget is under pressure. Lower ferry fares would mean increased subsidies, which would have cost implications for other public services.”
Mr Russell also said he thought it “would be right” for RET fares to be introduced to Bute’s routes at the same time as they come into effect on the main Arran ferry service in 2014.
* More on this story in the new issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, October 18.