Originally published on January 11, 2012
TRANSPORT Scotland has confirmed the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme will be rolled out to both Bute ferry services after concerns were raised that the Rothesay-Wemyss Bay route would not be included.
The SNP pledged in their 2011 manifesto to roll out RET after a pilot of the scheme in the Western Isles and gave the plans the go ahead on November 29 last year.
However, when Bute wasn’t named specifically in the Scottish government’s plans, Argyll & Bute MP Alan Reid claimed the SNP had no intention of rolling the scheme out to Bute, saying: “There is no commitment to bring RET to Bute.
“All RET schemes have started at the beginning of the winter timetable in October. Arran starts October 2014. There is only one more October before the end of the parliament. Why did the Scottish government not say that RET would come to Bute in October 2015?
“If a Government gives a date for the implementation of a specific commitment, you can generally believe them. This is not the case here. We still have to fight for this.”
Upon contacting the Scottish government for clarification on whether RET would come to the island. Transport Scotland’s Colin Grieve said: “You may be aware that the SNP’s 2011 manifesto contained a commitment to “continue the Road Equivalent Tariff on the current routes, and look to roll out to the Argyll and Clyde islands in light of the Western Isles pilot”.
“I can confirm that these plans include the introduction of RET on ferry services to Bute (Wemyss Bay-Rothesay and Colintraive-Rhubodach) within the lifetime of this parliament.
“In addition you may be interested to know that contained within the Scottish Ferry Service Draft
Plan recently published for consultation is a proposal to enhance the Colintraive-Rhubodach
service, running the service through to midnight, thereby extending the operating day.
“The intention would be to include this proposal as part of the next tender for Clyde and Hebridean
Ferry Services in 2013. The Draft Ferries Plan is out for consultation until 30 March 2012, and
we would welcome your views on it.”