We have received the statement below from Transport Scotland, following the recent press coverage of the Transport Secretary’s comments in Parliament about demand management. It is reassuring ….
There is no proposal to increase ferry fares. In responding to a question at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on 16 January 2019, Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, reiterated the existing policy for potential demand management measures which is set out within Scottish Ferry Services: Ferries Plan (2013-2022).
The Scottish Government welcomes the growing numbers of people using ferry services. This reflects the popularity of Scotland’s islands with tourists and the success of the Scottish Government’s policy to introduce reduced Road Equivalent Tariff fares. However, this does mean that people cannot always travel with a vehicle when they want to. We also need to meet the challenge of the greater likelihood of capacity constraints in the future.
Demand management can include a number of different measures including incentives for travel at off-peak times as well as higher fares on some peak sailings. It doesn’t just mean adjustments to fares; for example CalMac have introduced a vehicle height restriction on certain weekend summer sailings to Arran in agreement with the community and local hauliers. This maximises the amount of vehicle deck space available for resident and visitors’ cars. Demand management measures would not necessarily apply to all routes and would be considered in consultation and agreement with each community on a case by case basis.
Transport Scotland would engage with the local community, with passengers and with local businesses before any demand management measures were introduced, and any such measures would only be introduced with the agreement of the local community.