The debate about the inflation-busting fare increases faced by passengers continues this week with another report to the transport committee, recommending that any new fare proposals are put on hold until the autumn. Yet all this seems to avoid the real debate about the long-term future of the Corran Ferry; whether it is really viable to increase fares year-after-year and the need for a fixed-crossing across the Corran Narrows. It’s an issue I raise at every opportunity – council meetings, ward forums and in newspaper articles.
At the Lochaber Area Committee, in February, councillors asked for a meeting with the Transport Minister to discuss these issues. It’s a call echoed by community campaigners. Without government intervention or support, there is no real prospect of a permanent solution. However, three months later and there is still a deafening silence, with no sign of a meeting. At the full council meeting, I asked the Leader of the Council what meetings he has had with ministers over the last six months and what issues were discussed. Back came a long list, but no mention of the Corran Ferry. So, I urged some action, reminding him that the area committee had asked him to arrange a meeting with the minister. He promised to do so, but it seems there is no real urgency to deal with this matter. The default position being that the council will retain the ferry, stick fares up by inflation every year and then impose eye-watering increases every few years to try and close the budget gap. That’s not a sustainable position and it’s unfair on Lochaber residents.