The Western Isles MP and MSP have today (Monday) welcomed the introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) ferry fares on the Sound of Harris and Sound of Barra ferries.
This move will mean that passengers, cars and small commercial vehicles, on all routes in the Western Isles and throughout the West of Scotland will now benefit from significantly cheaper ferry fares.
It will now cost £13.20 for a single car and passenger to travel on the Sound of Barra ferry. This is down from £31.40. Similarly, it will now cost £16.60 for a single car and passenger to travel on the Sound of Harris ferry where it previously cost £42.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “This is welcome news for the Western Isles and represents a substantial 60% reduction in costs for people using inter-island ferry services.
“I have continued to raise the issue of fares on the Sound of Harris and Sound of Barra since I was elected. Following the introduction of RET elsewhere, the inter-island ferries were, mile for mile, more expensive than other ferry routes.
“From today that anomaly has been ended, and we have ensured better and more affordable transport links between our islands. The rollout of RET, which began in the Western Isles in 2008, now extends through all Hebridean routes and I’m glad that this will include the two Sounds.
“This further extension of RET represents a massive and welcome on-going investment by the Scottish Government in making our ferry services more affordable for islanders and tourists alike.”
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “It is brilliant to see RET across the network.
“I can remember writing letters to the Stornoway Gazette and other papers, 12 or more years ago, arguing that RET would bring economic benefits to the islands. To many, the SNP being in power, and RET seemed a distant pipe dream, today both are a reality and RET is system that benefits everybody but benefits lower earners more and is socially just.”