On Thursday, councillors will discuss the final proposals for an inflation-busting increase of fares on the Corran Ferry. Although, it’s an improvement on the crazy proposals produced earlier this year, in reality it heavily penalises anyone who travels on the ferry on a regular basis.
Those buying the book of 30-discounted tickets will be paying an extra 15% from 1st November if the proposals are nodded through.
That’s already on top of a 4% increase in April and another automatic increase of 4% planned for next April. That means, in the space of just a year passengers will see their fares go up by 25%. For someone who makes two return journeys a week, they will be stumping up an extra £100 a year.
At the public meeting, held last week in Strontian, we were presented with the final fait accompli. As suspected, none of the excellent suggestions made by local residents are included in the final report to councillors. In February, I asked for a full social and economic impact study to be prepared before any increases were implemented. The minutes of that Transport committee confirmed:
“the social and economic impact of the ferry and its pricing regime would be taken fully into consideration as part of the consultation, with proposed increases explained in detail and put into context.”
That impact study was promised at several consultation meetings but has never been produced. Councillors can’t possibly vote for such massive increases without a full understanding of the wider effect on fragile rural communities that make up the peninsula.
At the Transport committee I will be fighting for my constituents, to convince the Council to put a halt to any further fare increases until we know the full consequences for local residents and businesses. To do so, I need your help. You may have already signed the Fair Fares Petition, which I organised earlier this year. But I need you to do one more thing ahead of Thursday’s meeting.
Please write to the Chairman of the Transport Committee, Councillor Graham Phillips, to register your opposition to these latest proposals and explain how they will impact on you, your family and friends. Rather than cutting and pasting anything from this post, use your own words, this will carry more weight than repeating what I have said. You can email Councillor Phillips at Graham.Phillips.email@example.com. Whilst you are at it, you can also let council leader, Councillor Drew Hendry know: firstname.lastname@example.org and our local MSP Dave Thompson: Dave.Thompson.email@example.com
Don’t forget to copy me in at firstname.lastname@example.org, as I would like to use some of your examples during the debate on Thursday.
We have already made the Highland Council sit up and listen once, with a lot more noise we can do it again.