Ferry bookings to open for summer season following huge fare hike

NorthLink said it would soon be taking bookings from April onwards after fares were set for the summer season and beyond.

The ferry operator’s online system is being updated up until 31st December, allowing families to make plans for the Easter, summer and October holidays.

It will also mean visitors can start making plans for their Shetland holidays.

But with fares having increased by a staggering 8.7 per cent there are concerns fewer people will have the resources to travel.

The Scottish government confirmed it had increased the fares earlier this week.

It said in a statement: “We have made significant investment in recent years to ensure that ferry fares are affordable, with fare freezes and the introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff.

“We invested in freezing ferry fares in 2023/24, rather than apply the contractual 9.1 per cent increase, in order to support island communities in Covid recovery and cost of living pressures.

“Over the period of the fares freezes, since 2019/20, the combined annual cost increase on Calmac and NorthLink has been £36 million.

“We know that this increase will be challenging for some as inflationary pressures continue on households, businesses and public services, but it comes against the backdrop of a real terms reduction in the total block grant from the UK government.”


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