Call for discounts to Western Isles Residents

Comhairlle nan Eilean Siar have asked the Scottish Parliament to introduce measures which would give residents of the Western Isles a reduced rate on the Skye Bridge and also to provide discounts for vehicles serving the crofting industry.

The Council this week sent a submission to the parliament's petitions committee which outlined their plans. They propose that concessionary tickets be introduced for islanders and a seperate discount be introduced for the transport of livestock and feedstuff.

Signed by Convener Alex MacDonald, vice-Convener Roddy Murray and both the chair and vice-chair of the transportation committe, the document said "The Uig ferry routes from Tarbert and Lochmaddy are vital transport links for Western Isles residents to obtain access to facilities on the mainland." The petition suggested that the discount be set at 40-50 per cent for six crossings. The Council also called for the bridge to have the same dispensations for the crofting industry as is currently provided by ferry operators Caledonian Macbrayne, where charges for loads of hay are reduced by half and empty animal transporters are allowed to travel free.

Transportation Committe Chairman, Angus Graham, said "There is an opportunity to lessen the burden of travelling costs on the crofting industry for Skye and the Western Isles at a time when it is badly in need of a boost. Such a concession would only be a return to the situation prior to the bridge being built. I would appeal to the petitions committee to recognise the case we have made., demonstrate that the parliament if going to work for all parts of Scotland and refer the matter for action and legislation."

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Copyright Ray Shields, 1999.

Most recent revision, 09 October 1999