RET’s ‘dire’ results for Lochaline
MULL Community Council heard the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme has seen a ‘dire situation’ at Lochaline as the number of vehicles using the service has fallen dramatically since reduced fares came into force last October.
Neil Goldsmith, a member of the island’s ferry user group, said a few factors, including the ‘reduction in the price of campervans’, has meant a huge increase on all the other routes – but not the Lochaline to Fishnish service.
The Lochaline to Fishnish service, the community council heard, was at one time popular because of the reduced cost of the sailing – particularly for larger vehicles. The short crossing was also the preferred route of farmers.
The route means sailing across on the Corran Ferry, near Fort William, then driving 30 miles to Lochaline to make the trip. For many passengers, it is now as simple to travel from Oban because the increased capacity on the route, community councillors were told.
They heard the Tobermory to Kilchoan route had increased by 98 per cent with many entrepreneurs on the Kilchoan side springing up to meet the rising demand of visitors to the area.
Mr Goldsmith said: ‘They [ Kilchoan] are trying to get an all- day service for Sundays to meet the demand for passengers on the route.’
The Oban to Craignure route, Mr Goldsmith said, was showing a 48 per cent increase, although a reduction in the number of larger campervans using the service. Community councillors said the increase in traffic was not adversely effecting the movement of traffic on the island.
Police Constable Sharon Carr, who was at the meeting on Tuesday July 12, said she was not aware of any significant rise in criminal activity with the increased number of people on the islands.
RET has had consequences, Mull Community Council was told.