Sports groups to face ‘higher ferry charges’

NorthLink’s “Group Island Discount Scheme”, which helped sports clubs and school groups travel south by ferry, is being reviewed.

MSP Tavish Scott said he had been contacted by a number of local clubs which were worried about having to pay increasing boat fares and costs.

Mr Scott said: “The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are about all of Scotland. Yet our promising athletes face increasing transport costs. Serco and the Scottish Government meet on 22nd February to resolve this issue. I expect the group discount that helped many Shetlanders with Northlink to remain with Serco. That is what we were told last summer.

“Islanders used to pay the equivalent of 70 per cent of the low season fare year-round. Now it seems likely they will shortly be asked to pay 70 per cent of the actual fare at time of travel, adding up to 35 per cent to the cost of each peak season journey. This is unfair.

“Shetlanders need the continuing discounts on the fares of the lifeline ferry service. We do not have the different options that Orkney has; teams and groups are already battling inflated fuel prices and other increased costs. Visits and competitions are often the highlight of the year for many young people and pupils, they motivate and encourage group members to keep training and practising.

“I have also been in touch with Serco regarding their recent policy of asking for money at the time of booking. This is something many groups do not have the back-up funds to do, yet because of numbers, they have to reserve their cabins or seats well in advance of travel – often before the final teams travelling have been chosen.

“Transport Scotland are meeting with Serco representatives on 22nd February to discuss fares and discount schemes. While customer options need to be made clearer and better communicated to Shetland travellers, the actual discount rates must remain the same.”


Add Your Comment
  • Johan Adamson

    • February 13th, 2013 13:38

    I wonder what happened to the road equivalent charges? We definitely pay way more – a family with 2 bairns with a cabin (because its overnight) and a car at about £500.00. No one should be disadvantaged by this cost when the rest of Scotland are exempt from bridge tolls etc.

  • george williamson

    • February 13th, 2013 14:54

    definition of road equivalent charge reward/bribe for voting smp

  • John McPhail

    • February 17th, 2013 10:54

    The cost of getting to the isles is outrageous but to claim we are treated unfairly is also. We fail to acknowledge what we get. As it is the Ferries cost the entire Scottish populations tens of millions in subsidies as it is
    All for 23,000 people.

    We aren’t always so hard done by.

  • douglas young

    • February 17th, 2013 19:19

    The RET was given to the Western Isles because of the poor economic climate there, and has nothing to do with voting SNP. Shetland’s economy is one of the strongest in Scotland and has future growth to look forward to.
    We have just received £12M towards the cost of a new school from the Scottish Government, lets not get greedy.

  • Johan Adamson

    • February 18th, 2013 9:12

    But with free trips given to our sometimes very wealthy pensioners, who maybe even are still working (I will be working till I am ancient I am sure) and to these sports groups, it feels like families are alone in paying for the ferries, and they are not all wealthy, like the western isles, there is rural poverty and disadvantage. Bridge tolls were scrapped, good idea, but our charges were not. I know we do receive high subsidies and it is our choice to live here but its not fair that other island communities receive more than us (if they do) especially or because we are successful.

    We are not alone either in receiving money to build a school. Have you been to Orkney to see all the building going on there? I would think all publicly funded.


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