Promises to reduce ferry fares need to be kept

Back in December, transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf informed the Fair Ferry Fares campaign that neither he, nor Transport Scotland (TS) would be working towards an April 2018 timescale before we saw our promised reduction in our ferry fares.

I do hope that given the potential extension of the current North Isles contract, this does not mean the residents of Shetland and Orkney will suffer on with our current fare structure for a further year.

In 2016 First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf both visited Shetland and promised we would not wait "years and years" before we saw our promised cuts.

It is important to the people of Orkney and Shetland this promised is kept.

After hearing what Mr Yousaf and Transport Scotland have had to say, along with quotes coming from TS official Graham Laidlaw when he said a "significant reduction" is close ('High cost of travel stifling tourism say industry' SN, 12/12/16), I am more than confident that we will indeed see the fares cut, and by a reasonable enough margin to eventually wind up the Fair Ferry Fares campaign.

I echo the messages of Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd and Northern Isles MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur by calling for the reduction in our fees sooner rather than later.

On behalf of the 3,569 people and counting, who have signed the Fair Ferry Fares petition, I will continue the fight until these fares are in place.

Ryan Thomson
Fair Ferry Fares campaigner
Shetland Islands Council candidate, North Isles Ward, 2017

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