No rise in Corran Ferry passenger fares this year
CORRAN FERRY passenger fares will not go up this year.
Despite concerns people wanting to cross Loch Linnhe from Nether Lochaber to Ardgour could be charged an additional 10 per cent on the ‘already criminal’ £ 8.20, the Highland Council (HC) last week revealed the fare will stay as it is – for the time being.
In a statement, HC budget leader Bill Fernie confirmed: ‘ We will not increase the charges for existing car parks or the Corran Ferry this year.’
The information was part of an announcement regarding a deal agreed by the Scottish Government to reduce the gap in the Highland Council’s budget from £26 million to £20 million.
While the news was welcomed by some, the local councillor said it came as a bit of a surprise.
Councillor Andrew Baxter, who represents Fort William and Ardnamurchan, told The
Oban Times: ‘Even when I met with finance officials just prior to the council meeting there was talk of a minimum of a five per cent increase so, yes, I was not expecting this.’
Mr Baxter says the council sees the Corran Ferry as a cash cow and added: ‘I will continue campaigning for a fair deal for local residents that avoids yearon-year fare increases.’
In the build up to the announcement, The Oban Times had been contacted by readers who believe Morvern and Ardnamurchan residents are penalised because the ferry is run by the Highland Council and does not comply for Road Equivalent Tariff (RET).
RET was introduced on all CalMac ferry tickets in October 2015 to make island travel cheaper and more affordable, cutting prices by more than £40 on some journeys.
Currently passengers who buy multiple tickets for the Corran Ferry at one time benefit from lower prices. Such discounts would not be allowed under the RET scheme, but Mr Baxter says that does not mean the option should be ruled out. He said: ‘The Corran Ferry is unique. The crossing is really an extension of the road network. If we are going to look at RET moving forward we need to ask the Scottish Government to change the existing rules.’
However, there are some who believe businesses do benefit from the expense of the ferry crossing.
Alistair MacLean from Strontian Stores said: ‘I have to say I can do well from visitors looking at wines and spirits, and instead of getting the ferry and over to town they will come to me – it makes us even more competitive.’
Chrissie Morgan, who owns Bluebell Croft, says her and her partner try to save up errands and buy a book of tickets. She says only a handful of guests have complained about the price of the ferry but when it comes to shopping she will more often than not buy online.
She added: ‘We are not losing business at the moment but if the fare was to continue to go up then maybe that would be the case.
‘ We definitely take it into consideration when buying things – we will choose places which offer free delivery or we will increase our order to qualify for free delivery rather than pay needlessly.
‘Luckily for us, most of our guests come and stay on the peninsula and chill out.’