-> 2011 -> Islay in RET pilot from October 2012

Dimàirt, 29/Nov/2011

Islay in RET pilot from October 2012

Islay News in stencil

One of the larger expenses when visiting Islay is the actual journey to Islay, in particular when you take a car. A return journey will easily set you back well over £100. Earlier today I came across a report on the BBC indicating this will be reduced next year with RET ferry fares scheme extended to inter-island routes, where it also says:

RET is also to be extended to cover Colonsay, Islay and Gigha ferries from October 2012 and a pilot scheme for Arran is to start from October 2014.

In a nutshell Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) means that a ferry crossing should cost as much as travelling an equivalent distance by road. The BBC report isn't entirely accurate though, as while RET will be made permanent for the areas previously in it, for Islay it will ‘only’ be a pilot as per the Scottish Government news release ‘Pilot increases island tourism’:

roll out a further RET pilot for passenger and cars including small commercial vehicles and coaches to Colonsay, Islay and Gigha from October 2012

There's no information how long the pilot will run I could see (I assume at least 2-3 years, similar to the previous ones) and what the reduction will be (my guesstimate would be to somewhere around £50 to £80 for a car and driver). I'm not sure what the definition of ‘small commercial vehicle’ is, but lorries don't seem to be included.

According to key findings of the report and assuming the same will apply to Islay as for the Western Isles we should see a significant increase in room occupancy as well as a longer tourist season. On the downside traffic on Islay's narrow (and in some areas undermaintained) roads is likely to increase and in particular for peak time crossings you'll better book well ahead.

First reactions I've seen seemed to be mainly positive. What do you think, RET for Islay, good news or bad news?

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