Fare increases for Motorhomes

Transport Scotland today let us know that from next summer, motorhomes will have a much higher fare increase than all other types of traffic. Whilst general fares are rising by around 2%, the tariff formula applied to Motorhomes will be adjusted, resulting in increases for Motorhomes of around 50-70%.

The increasing number of Motorhomes on our ferries has been a source of many complaints, due to the large amount of deck space they take up. The inequity of subsidising independent motorhome travel to the islands with Road Equivalent Tariff, whilst at the same time excluding all commercial traffic from RET is difficult to defend.

We have not been given the precise fares for any Mull routes yet, but the below is an approximation based on figures we have seen for Arran. [[UPDATE – we have now been given the new fares, and the estimates below are very close]]

Even after this rise, a 10 metre truck delivering food, building materials or anything else to the islands will still cost more than three times the same length of motorhome. One of the major drivers of the rising island cost of living are ferry fares for delivery vehicles. It would seem to be imbalanced use of government money to subsidise the travel of motorhomes to the islands, but not food deliveries.

This move to partially redress the imbalance between motorhome and commercial vehicle fares is welcome, but more needs to be done. A commercial fares review was announced many years ago, but never concluded. Commercial fares need to come down. Transport Scotland say this adjustment to motorhome fares is an interim measure, and a wider fares review is underway.

Motorhomes are welcome, but the first job of the ferry service is to provide a lifeline service to those who live on the island. The current system of fares and booking is simply not leaving enough of that scarce resource – car deck space – available for islanders who rely on CalMac ferries to provide a lifeline.

The number of motorhomes coming to Mull is increasing – the numbers travelling in and out of Craignure has gone up from 1650 in 2015 to 7,500 this summer. But they still represent a small proportion of traffic and by no means are their growing numbers the only cause of the crisis of capacity in the network.

16 thoughts on “Fare increases for Motorhomes

  1. Will campervans still be charged at lower rates or will the booking be based on the classification on the vo5?

    1. We are asking for clarification of what constitutes a motorhome from CalMac.

  2. Many residents of Mull own small camper vans. Do you know if these will be included in the fare hike

    1. As it stands at the moment, the motorhome fare applies to all regardless of whether you live on the island or not. This is obviously not fair and compromises Road Euivalent Tariff. We have already written to Transport Scotland, to urge for a system that differentiates between resident and non-resident.

  3. I drive a VW camper van which is my only mode of transport. I am not alone in this…
    Will there be a discount for islanders or are we to be discriminated against..????

    1. At the moment, the price rise applies to all, both resident and non-resident. We have already written pointing out that this is unfair and that island residents need to be treated differently.

    2. Discriminated against?????
      You choose to only drive a motor home, visitors bring valuable revenue to local business.

  4. As a Mull resident who owns a motorhome, I feel that this move penalises me. I suspect there is an element of ‘knee jerk’ reaction from Transport Scotland in this plan, wanting to be seen to be doing ‘something’, even if they are not addressing the real problem of overcharging commercial traffic.

    1. Or an element of self interest

  5. Simple, stop going see how the food prices etc increase on the islands because there will be less need when the tourists take away their patronage! The islands depend greatly on tourism, motorhomers spend large amounts from gifts to eating out, I know I am one!

    1. Kev, one of the biggest causes of high food prices is that RET fares to not apply to commercial vehicles – eg food trucks. If a lorry delivering food paid the same rate as a motorhome, our food might be more affordable.

  6. Just covering up the dreadful failure of the SNP government to run a proper ferry renewal/ procurement system !
    A disaster ,, just like everything else the have touched .

  7. With these price hikes for motorhomes, I imagine many people will therefore not travel to the beautiful island of Mull! This is sad for their tourism & economy! Motorhome users, spend money in their lovely restaurants, independent shops, grocery shops, petrol stations, on boats trips and at campsites! Sad for these hard working, welcoming local residents on Mull who are trying to make a living! They shouldn’t be penalised!!

  8. It would be interesting to see what the commercial benefits of a 4 fold increase in motorhome numbers has done for the islands, also where does these subsidies come from in the first place? Looks like biting the hand that feeds them to me. And from a ‘deck space’ argument, how does a 5-6m car take up less room than a 5-6m mo-ho and a 7m van justify a 250% price increase over a 5m car?

    Clear money grab.

    1. A five metre car takes up less space than the same length of motorhome because generally they are narrower. Many of our ferries were designed in the 80s (including the MV Isle of Mull) when cars tended to be smaller. Consequently the lanes are only just wide enough for modern cars, and anything wider than the typical car often spills over into the neighbouring lane, making the neighbouring lane un-useable. So quite often, one motorhome fills the space of two cars of the same length. Also, Most motorhomes re between 6 and 8 metres long, and the typical car is under 5 metres.
      Regarding the difference in price between commercial fares and cars – there is absolutely no justification.

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