Fares on all ferry routes between the mainland and the Hebrides, and between Oban, Coll and Tiree are currently part of a pilot scheme that reduces prices to a Road Equivalent Tariff (RET).
The pilot scheme is due to continue until the Spring of 2011. Until then the economic impact of the scheme will be measured regularly. The results of these economic studies will inform the setting of future ferry fares and whether the RET continues on these and other routes.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Argyll and Bute Council and Visit Scotland are keen to see all local businesses, communities and individuals maximise the economic potential of the current, short term RET arrangement.
There are many economic advantages to reducing travel costs to and from the Outer Hebrides. It is therefore important that as many people, organisations and companies as possible know about the present lower fares. To help encourage new customers and visitors to either visit or do business with local companies and communities.
Update: April 2010 - businesses in the Western Isles experience higher than usual visitor numbers.
Since the introduction of RET in October 2008, many businesses in the Western Isles have experienced a higher than usual number of visitors. According to Scottish Government figures, the RET pilot operating on all ferry routes to the Wester Isles has attracted 23 per cent more cars and 14 per cent more passengers compared with the same period in 2007-08. The pilot will continue to run until spring 2011.