Commenting as the Minister for Transport and the Islands announces a fare freeze on Northern Isles ferry routes for 2017, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“During the recent election, Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly promised people in Orkney and Shetland that she would cut ferry fares as a matter of urgency. Today's announcement falls far short of those promises. It also reveals that the Scottish Government still has no clear idea how to honour those promises.
“Effectively, the fare freeze through to the end of 2017 means we will see no reductions until 2018 at the earliest. At that point we will be into the new contract. This is just not good enough, particularly when contrasted with the approach taken by the SNP on west coast routes, where average fares have been cut in half over recent years.
“People in Orkney and Shetland don't want more excuses. They want to see clear and urgent action. They expect Nicola Sturgeon to keep the promises she was making three months ago making and to deliver a fair deal for Orkney’s lifeline ferry services. That will be my message when I meet the Islands Minister later today.”
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott added:
“Shetland passengers will be desperately disappointed that the SNP government promised cuts and have not delivered. The ferry service to Aberdeen is our lifeline - our motorway to the Scottish mainland. More than 3000 local people have supported a petition that asked the SNP to maintain their election commitment to ferry fare cuts made with great fanfare by Nicola Sturgeon in Lerwick in April. This has now been abandoned. Islanders will not forget that the SNP cut ferry fares on Scotland's west coast by 50%. We are all asking why the Northern Isles are not getting the same. I do not find this announcement fair, reasonable or in any way acceptable.”