A major reduction in fares on the Ardrossan-Brodick ferry is to be implemented from the introduction of the Winter 2014/15 timetable in October.
The savings will result from the SNP Scottish Government
applying Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) to the route. RET operates on
the basis that it should not cost more to travel by ferry than it would
to drive the same distance if a road was available.
The initiative will result in the fare for a car being reduced by over 50%, while passenger tickets will be 30% cheaper.
Minister Keith Brown said, “We made a pledge to extend the RET pilot to
Arran by October 2014 and this fares announcement will come as welcome
news to islanders and visitors.
“The RET pilot has proved successful on other ferry routes, providing a real boost to local tourist trade and local economies.”
SNP MSP noted, “The Scottish Government is committed to assessing the
affordability of ferry travel to and from our remote island communities,
with the aim of bringing in cheaper fares for islanders, tourists and
businesses across the country.”
However, the good news of fare
reductions was tempered by continued concerns over a lack of investment
in the harbour infrastructure at Ardrossan.
ferry has a higher than average rate of cancellations, which operator
Caledonian MacBrayne has implied is a result of berthing difficulties at
Ardrossan during inclement weather. Clydeport, the private owners of
Ardrossan Harbour, have denied such assertions.
The SNP Scottish
Government is currently investing around £18m on upgrading the
publicly-owned harbour infrastructure at Brodick, and intends to
introduce two new ferries to service the Arran route. Clydeport have no
plans to provide improved access or facilities at Ardrossan.
recently revealed the parent company of Clydeport had ‘off-shored’ its
multi-million pounds profits, resulting in it paying no tax in the UK.