The success of a government pilot project aimed at lowering ferry fares in the Outer Hebrides has sparked a fresh call for reductions elsewhere.Fullers owner, Mr Souter, is a Scotsman, so why not follow their shiny example?
In Scotland they use an interesting concept to calculate fares: the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET):
A pilot scheme offering lower fares on all ferry routes to the Western Isles has increased traffic significantly, the first minister has said.Meanwhile in British Columbia, things go the other way:
Road equivalent tariff (RET) was launched by the Scottish Government in October last year.
It bases the cost of travelling on the equivalent distance by road.
Alex Salmond said since the scheme started there had been a rise in the number of visitors, family, friends and businesses visiting the isles.
The B.C. Ferries annual report is grim reading for individuals and business owners in coastal communities.And in neighbouring Washington State, it doesn't get better either. Super surcharge anyone?:
In the last year, the number of vehicles carried has fallen by more than five per cent. The number of passengers has fallen by almost as much. The losses have been greatest on the major routes, carrying visitors to Vancouver Island.
The annual report cites a number of factors, including the recession, high gas prices, falling tourism and December storms. All of those certainly played a significant role.
The state Transportation Commission is recommending that ferry travelers pay a second surcharge during the heat of summer.The Office of Fair Trading in the UK is launching a public survey into ferry fares to the Isle of Man by the Steam Packet Company:
For years, Washington State Ferries has raised vehicle rates 25 percent during the peak season, from May through mid-October. The transportation commission, after hearing Washington State Ferries’ proposal on July 14 to raise fares 2.5 percent across the board, decided to add a 10 percent super summer surcharge in July and August. Like the peak-season surcharge, it wouldn’t affect customers using frequent-user passes, just tourists and other occasional users. For them, the cost of a cross-Sound ticket for a car and driver would jump from $14.45 to $16 each way. The super surcharge would not apply to walk-on passengers.
The inquiry is looking at the price of passenger and vehicle fares including fuel surcharges and freight charges.The responses have been excellent.