The Arran Banner

Pledge over concession ferry fares for the young

- By Hugh Boag editor@arranbanne­

The Scottish government has pledged to look at extending a free bus travel scheme on to ferries for young travellers.

The move has come in response to a call by CalMac Community Board, as highlighte­d in the Banner two weeks ago.

It was announced in the Scottish budget earlier this month that a free bus travel scheme is to be introduced for all those under the age of 22, expected later this year.

That led to calls from community board chairman Angus Campbell to extend the scheme to ferries to Arran and the other Scottish islands, where youngsters used the ferries as ‘buses’ for travel to the mainland.

The national transport agency of the Scottish government has now pledged to look not only at extending the bus scheme to ferries but also at wider concession fares for the young.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: ‘Transport Scotland will carry out an Island Communitie­s Impact

Assessment on the free bus scheme before it comes into operation.

‘We are also considerin­g ferry concession­s for young people through our review of concession­ary travel across all modes for under 26-year-olds and, as set out in the National Islands Plan, we will be considerin­g future ferry fares policy options that will meet the needs of islanders and support island economies.

‘This will done as part of the work on the Islands Connectivi­ty Plan, which is due to be completed by December 2022.’

Transport Scotland’s existing Young Persons Concession­ary Travel Scheme provides 16 to 18-year-old islanders four free ferry journeys to or from the mainland every year and this will continue. Under 16s travel for half fare and under fives are free on CalMac.

‘We are running a separate engagement with young people on the future of transport more broadly, seeking their views on how we tackle transport inequaliti­es and move towards a more sustainabl­e and inclusive Scottish transport network,’ the spokesman added.

 ??  ?? Passengers want to see the station far closer to the maritime hub, as shown in this artist’s impression.
Passengers want to see the station far closer to the maritime hub, as shown in this artist’s impression.
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