Fair Isle ‘friends and family’ fares to be explored
The SIC is to look into a reduced fares scheme for family and friends of residents living in Fair Isle.
Shetland South councillor Robbie McGregor raised the idea after contact from residents at a meeting of the council’s environment and transport committee.
Members were discussing plans for a refreshed Shetland transport strategy.
Mr McGregor said relatives of Fair Isle residents living south had paid a lot to get to Shetland and asked whether a reduced rate could be brought in for the leg to the island.
Additional costs to Fair Isle he felt were “both detrimental to the tourist industry and those who have family who wish to visit Fair Isle”.
Committee chairman Ryan Thomson accepted the high costs of travel to the mainland.
He said fares on and off Fair Isle had been increased in line with inflation, however, and efforts had been made to ensure costs were as low as possible for islanders “because it’s their lifeline service”.
Members were told an outline business case was being drawn up for Whalsay and Fair Isle transport links as a priority by the council. And community views were being sought as part of the process.
It is due to be completed in March with information then being shared with Transport Scotland.
Fellow Shetland South councillor George Smith said the idea should be looked into. “I think there’s room for us to at least explore the possibility of extending reduced fares to include family,” he said, noting reduced travel fares available for folk travelling away from Shetland on compassionate grounds.
Mr Thomson also pointed to the NorthLink family and friends scheme and suggested the council could take some information from that.