I was first tipped-off by the Press Release from our MP and MSP. (Although I have to ask if the 'lowering of the water-table' that our MP promises is a good thing. It usually causes drought, or reflects the unsustainable use of assets. I think he meant 'level the playing field'.)
However, the announcement is going to be:-
- Vehicles at 60p per mile + a £5 fee per ticket
- The removal of the multi-ticket discounts
- This to apply to all routes affecting the islands
- Passenger cost details to follow
Stornoway to Ullapool 52 miles @ 60p + £5 = £36.20.
Current 6 journey ticket is £266/6 = £44.33
Leverburgh to Berneray 10 miles @ 60p + £5 = £11.00
Current 6 journey ticket is £93/6 = £15.50
Castlebay to Oban 157 miles @ 60p +£5 = £99.20
Current 6 journey ticket is £283/6 = £47.17
Assuming my arithmetic and mileages are correct, it looks very much like smoke and mirrors.
The consultants have obviously decided that the deplacement issues make assessing the cost/benefit of RET on one route would be so difficult to ascertain that it is pointless trying. As I said a long time ago.
Instead, the bullet has been bitten and we are to get everything our MP and MSP wish for. Unfortunately they have either not worked out what the implications are, or hope that delivery of RET will be welcomed regardless.
No let's be fair and point out that a single journey will - of course - be much cheaper, down from £44.33 to £36.20, but that is hardly likely to have the tourists flooding across the Minch. Another missed opportunity.
(The Council proposal at Inland Revenue rates would have resulted in Stornoway-Ullapool costing £20.80, a reduction of 53% from current rates, or 42% below the new proposals)
Update 21/2/08: I've corrected stupid one arithmetic error, and I'm trying to find definitive answers on some of the distances. I will provide a fuller analysis when I receive details of the likely passenger costs.