Scottish ferries

bionic

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8 Nov 2013
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Can rail staff get a priv discount on ferries out to the Scottish islands (EG: Wemyss Bay to Rothesay, Mallaig to Skye etc) or do we have to pay full whack?
 
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Haywain

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Can rail staff get a priv discount on ferries out to the Scottish islands (EG: Wemyss Bay to Rothesay, Mallaig to Skye etc) or do we have to pay full whack?
Some safeguarded staff have travel benefits on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, but the majority, including all New Entrants, pay public rates.
 

greatkingrat

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20 Jan 2011
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You can get a Priv discount on the Spirit of Scotland travel pass, which may be worthwhile if you are touring around Scotland.
 

Elwyn

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Because of an EU directive relating to public transport in remoter locations, essential ferry services are supposed to be priced in a way that compares to the same journey if made by land. It’s called the “road equivalent tariff.” So for example, if the ferry journey from Mallaig to an island is 10 miles, then the foot passenger fare should be similar to a 10 mile bus journey. Each route has to be designated to qualify for this but many in the Western isles are. The bottom line is that both car and foot passenger fares on many of those routes are now very reasonable.


https://www.calmac.co.uk


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-38969975
 

Haywain

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Because of an EU directive relating to public transport in remoter locations, essential ferry services are supposed to be priced in a way that compares to the same journey if made by land. It’s called the “road equivalent tariff.” So for example, if the ferry journey from Mallaig to an island is 10 miles, then the foot passenger fare should be similar to a 10 mile bus journey. Each route has to be designated to qualify for this but many in the Western isles are. The bottom line is that both car and foot passenger fares on many of those routes are now very reasonable.


https://www.calmac.co.uk


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-38969975
An EU directive, you say? I wonder if the reasonable fares would remain outwith the EU.
 

greatkingrat

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There is no such directive. The Scottish Government have chosen to subsidize fares to the remote islands, there is no law saying they have to.
 

bionic

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8 Nov 2013
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883
Great information. Thanks everyone. Do they leave many seats unreserved on the trains to places like Mallaig, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh etc in the summer months? I don't want to tie myself down but want to make sure getting a seat wont be a problem. I'm just talking about Scotrail here, not the steam charters.
 

Hadders

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27 Apr 2011
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Great information. Thanks everyone. Do they leave many seats unreserved on the trains to places like Mallaig, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh etc in the summer months? I don't want to tie myself down but want to make sure getting a seat wont be a problem. I'm just talking about Scotrail here, not the steam charters.
You should be ok, particularly if you board at the start of the trains journey although sometimes tour parties do block book rather a lot of seats in summer.

If you’re travelling on a flexible ticket then I suggest getting a seat reservation for your intended train. You’re not obliged to use it but it’s a good back up in case the train’s very busy.
 

Flying Snail

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12 Dec 2006
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In principle, you can just turn up with a car as well. You just have to be willing to take the risk that there's no room on the ferry for you.
There were a lot of disappointed motorists at Armadale the day I was there, a double whammy of tidal restrictions and CalMac replacing the booked ferry with a lower capacity one meaning even booked cars were not getting carried, they seemed to give priority to coaches as about 75% of the space was given to them as well as a few camper vans.

CalMac do offer pre-booking for foot passengers on some routes, I would say it is unlikely to be over passenger capacity on most routes but if possible I would book just in case. I was also happy that at Armadale they allowed us on before the cars/coaches as the seating on board was limited and once the coaches disgorged plenty of people ended up standing.
 

RLBH

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17 May 2018
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There were a lot of disappointed motorists at Armadale the day I was there, a double whammy of tidal restrictions and CalMac replacing the booked ferry with a lower capacity one meaning even booked cars were not getting carried, they seemed to give priority to coaches as about 75% of the space was given to them as well as a few camper vans.
I think they give priority to islanders and freight over tourists normally, which is fair enough.
 

IslandDweller

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5 Dec 2011
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Island folk and freight do not get priority. Sore point.
Only lost week the owners of Barratlantic (as the name suggests, a fish processing business on Barra) were complaining very publicly and loudly that they'd lost thousands of pounds of sales because their truck couldn't get loaded onto the ferry off Barra recently - despite them being a daily user - as all space taken up with tourist cars and caravans.
 

PaulLothian

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27 Sep 2010
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Linlithgow
At least two of the three smaller ferries we used on a month-long trip in May were fully booked for vehicles and left unbooked vehicles on the pier. That was considered a quiet period by locals, some of whom were bemoaning the need to book.
 

Hadders

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27 Apr 2011
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I took the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig now Tuesday afternoon. As far Advance vehicles were concerned it was very busy, coaches included with several vehicles having to wait for the next crossing.

I was the only foot passenger. Found it quite amusing at Mallaig as they waited for me to walk up the ramp to get off the ferry before they could start loading vehicles for the next crossing.
 

_toommm_

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Headingley
And if you get the ferry to Skye, weather-permitting, sit on the top deck. The ocean is gorgeous on a good day, and the views aren't bad either...
 

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