Bute in the dark over Wemyss Bay discount offer

CalMac's MV Bute berthed at Wemyss Bay pier.
CalMac's MV Bute berthed at Wemyss Bay pier.

Government officials have yet to decide whether Rothesay’s ferry users will still get a discount offered to compensate for the closure of Wemyss Bay ferry terminal when the pier is shut for major repairs later this year.

Users of the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay ferry service were told last September that a 15 per cent fare discount would be offered during the period of the route’s closure - originally for 16 weeks from Monday, March 2.

But following the decision by the pier’s owners, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), to delay the closure until the autumn of this year, Bute Community Council was reminded this week that the start of the new closure period would co-incide, roughly, with the introduction of (cheaper) fares based on road equivalent tariff (RET) to Bute’s two ferry services.

As a result we asked Transport Scotland, the government agency which is responsible for setting fares on Scotland’s publicly-funded ferry routes: “Given that fares based on road equivalent tariff come into effect here in October, will that 15% reduction still apply to those RET fares?”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson replied: “We are currently considering the correct level of fares to be applied during the delayed closure period of Wemyss Bay. Details will be made available as soon as practicable.”

CMAL announced on February 9 that the major repairs to Wemyss Bay were to be postponed because of a delay in the manufacture and delivery of a new fendering system, currently being assembled in China, for the pier.