Routes busier as ferry fares fall

Routes busier as ferry fares fall

New figures have revealed that a reduction in ferry fares has sparked a increase in traffic travelling to and from Scotland's Western Isles.

In a year the number of vehicles using one ferry route - from Oban-Castlebay to Lochboisedale - jumped by 26%, while the number of passengers was also up 19%, the figures showed.

Many ferry fares have been lowered as a result of the Scottish Government's road-equivalent tariff (RET), which was launched last year. The scheme sets the price of a ferry fare equal to the cost of travelling the same distance by road.

The RET is currently operating on route from Oban, Ullapool and Uig to the Western Isles and from Oban to Coll and Tiree.

The latest figures refer to travel numbers between the pilot launch of the scheme in October last year and this June, compared with the same period 12 months earlier.

Andrew Morrison, manager of the Harris Hotel in Tarbert on the Western Isles, said: "It is now much easier for people to jump on the ferry and visit Harris from the mainland or Skye with RET."

He added that he had spoken to people from other businesses in the area and they were also benefiting from the increase in tourism.

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