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Have your say on revised ferry fare structure

Feedback is being sought on the new reduced fare structure onboard Orkney Ferries’ vessels.

Folk in Orkney are being asked to feedback into a survey on the revised Orkney Ferries fare structure.

The council introduced the structure, which has reduced ferry fares to and from the outer islands, in June this year.

The new rates reduced the base rate adult and vehicle fares by 38 per cent and provided a further 25 per cent concessionary discount for elderly and disabled passengers, in addition to a 50 per cent discount for junior and full-time students.

The council’s transportation service will use the results of the survey to pull together an informed review of the fare structure and how this has impacted communities.

Transportation manager Laura Cromarty said: “The aim of this is to create a fairer structure of fares for everyone, and we want to know if this is working.”

The change in fare structure came following additional Scottish Government funding of around £725,000 during 2021/22 which will be subject to review each year.

The funding was for passenger and vehicle fares only so there has been no change to the commercial rates applied by Orkney Ferries Ltd and they will require to be considered separately.

Ms Cromarty continued: “The priority this year was to roll out the revised fare structure during 2021/22 to make full use of the funding available and to evidence the need for continued funding in subsequent years.

“Therefore, it was not possible to carry out a full consultation exercise with the communities in advance.

“Now the revised fare structure has been introduced, the transportation service would like to hear your thoughts via the survey. This information shall form the basis of a report which will be presented to elected members for consideration of budget setting for 2022/23 financial year.”

The survey can be completed online here.

Paper copies are available on request — email transport@orkney.gov.uk or call 873535 ext: 3637.

Responses to the survey are required by Thursday, September 30.