Highlands & Islands

CalMac publish ferry prices with RET removed

Lorry on a ferry
Image caption Western Isles businesses campaign against the removal of RET

Prices for commercial vehicles that will not qualify for low cost ferry fares from 1 April have been published by operator Caledonian MacBrayne.

Western Isles businesses campaigned against the withdrawal of road equivalent tariff (RET) from large freight.

The Scottish government said there would be no fare rises of more than 50%.

The new prices have been published on CalMac's website.

The Stornoway-Ullapool crossing one way will increase from £190.96 to £286.44 without VAT and on Tarbert-Uig from £116.15 to £174.24.

Leverburgh-Berneray will rise from £262 to £274.

The removal of RET from large commercial vehicles has been debated by MSPs.

Earlier this week, there was a Holyrood debate on reintroducing a ferry service between Lochboisdale in South Uist and Mallaig on the mainland.

The route, axed in the 1990s, would involve a shorter crossing than what is offered on the current Lochboisdale to Oban sailing.

During a debate secured by Labour, Infrastructure Minister Alex Neil said campaigners' calls were being heard.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said the Mallaig service made economic sense.

She said a sailing to Mallaig would take three-and-a-half hours, while it was a six-and-a-half hour trip to Oban.

Ms Grant said the withdrawal of road equivalent tariff (RET) - a low-cost ferry fare scheme - from large commercial vehicles added to the need for the shorter crossing.

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