Ferries are an essential part of Scotland's transport network.
They perform several roles:
- Support business and employment opportunities in pursuit of a wealthier and fairer Scotland
- Encourage sustainability of communities including tourism
- Provide access to schools and healthcare for our remote and island communities
- Enable the movement of freight to and from these communities
Enhancing Scotland's ferry services and related infrastructure are key to supporting business and employment opportunities in pursuit of a wealthier and fairer Scotland. Achieving change in travel patterns and mode is one of the greatest challenges in securing sustainable economic growth and is integral to securing a greener Scotland. Connectivity also plays a key role in building safer and stronger communities. Safer and stronger communities are fundamental to the attractiveness of Scotland as a place to live and work.
The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of ferry services in Scotland. The Scottish Ferries Review is considering all domestic services in Scotland including those operated commercially.
Road Equivalent Tariff (RET)
The Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme involves setting ferry fares on the basis of the cost of travelling an equivalent distance by road. Following careful consideration of the findings of the final evaluation report, and as part of their commitment to encouraging economic growth and employment, Ministers have announced the Scottish Government’s intention to:
- continue RET as a permanent feature on the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree for passengers and cars, including small commercial vehicles and coaches
- replace RET for larger commercial vehicles on the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree, with an enhanced pre-RET discount scheme
- roll out a further RET pilot for passenger and cars including small commercial vehicles and coaches to Colonsay, Islay and Gigha from October 2012
- roll out a further RET pilot for passenger and cars including small commercial vehicles and coaches to Arran from October 2014
- roll out RET to other West Coast and Clyde islands within the term of this Parliament.
The extra fare savings of up to 50% for small commercial vehicles using ferry routes to the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree are detailed in the Transitional Arrangements for Larger Commercial Vehicles (pdf, 40kb)
A summary version of the final report is also available. A press release was issued to coincide with this announcement.