The Arran Banner
Pledge over concession ferry fares for the young
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.