Serco NorthLink has confirmed it will be abolishing group discounts onboard the ferries Hjaltland and Hrossey.
The discounts, which previously applied to sports clubs, schools and community groups, are to be replaced with a sponsorship scheme, valued at £100,000 a year and available on application to the same groups.
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott received written confirmation of the change from Transport Minister Keith Brown this week.
Mr Scott said: “Shetlanders were told by the SNP Government that the new Serco service would be better. For sports and community groups that is now untrue. Northlink operated a good discount scheme and they had sponsorship too. Serco have abolished the group discount and the SNP Transport Minister has agreed to that cut.
“So much for encouraging islanders to get involved in the Commonwealth Games. Serco’s service to local people is now worse than we enjoyed with Northlink. This is desperately disappointing but truly demonstrates the SNP’s approach to the Northern Isles. I hope the SIC will raise this with SNP Ministers in Lerwick on Monday.”
According to Serco the new sponsorship scheme has “a formal application process to ensure that any discount or free travel is applied fairly and appropriately”.
Applications are being sought for the first of two funding rounds in 2013. The deadline has been extended until 27th March.