Announcement expected on ferry fare hikes

THE level of price hike from the RET removal on commercial vehicles should be known today (Friday).

Transport Minister Keith Brown told hauliers on Tuesday that he would get back to them by the end of this week with more details of what the new scheme will involve.

Representatives from the Outer Hebrides Transport Group (OHTG) are due to meet officers and councillors at the Comhairle next week to discuss the way forward, which could involve a Taskforce like approach which was so successful in campaigning against the cuts to the Rocket Range and the Coastguard station.

Leader of the Comhairle Angus Campbell said today: “We are expecting something to be said today. If we don’t get significant movement, we would hope to get some agreement on some sort of tactics for the way forward at next week’s meeting.”

He stressed that the Comhairle did not want to take over as the OHTG had done a very good job but would offer them all the support needed.

He said they would also speak to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

In a statement to the Gazette, a spokesperson for HIE said: “HIE is a longstanding supporter of RET and we understand the concerns of hauliers and other businesses. We are pleased discussions are taking place with the Transport Minister to try to resolve this issue.”

Calmac said the setting of revised fares would not drastically affect their booking systems.

A spokesperson said: “Fares set up in our system at  present are those previously intimated by Transport Scotland. The majority of our commercial customers hold  credit accounts with us and will be invoiced at the prices ruling at time of travel. “