Calmac issued the following press release today in which they state that the fares will be increased, but below the prognosed inflation rate. Calmac also said that the increase will not apply on routes which are about to undertake the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) pilot, as the Scottish Government has frozen fares on these routes until 2010. So one could argue that the competition with the other isles will be even harder now that the fares on the non RET routes go up and the fares of the RET routes remain unchanged. The differences are getting bigger and bigger and this could lead to a loss in tourism for islands who are not in the RET scheme. Below the press release from Calmac:
Ferry Operator Caledonian MacBrayne today announced a below-inflation increase in fares for 2009-2010. A 3.8 per cent increase will come into effect with the Summer Timetable on March 27, 2009. The increase will also apply to the Gourock/Dunoon service operated by Cowal Ferries Ltd. Lawrie Sinclair, Managing Director of CalMac Ferries Ltd said: 'We are delighted to have been able to set the increase at a below-inflation rate as it will allow us to limit fare increases at a time when the economic pressures on individuals, companies and especially transport operators, have rarely been greater.' He added: 'This follows our recent announcement of 13 timetable improvements made as a result of consultation with local groups and is further evidence of our focus on providing the best service we can to the communities we serve.'