Ferry fares freeze and cabin prices reduction timeframes: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

With regards to (a) the three year freeze on ferry fares, and (b) the 20% reduction on cabin prices, please tell me (i) which date these options was first raised, and settled during the negotiation of the Northern Isles Ferry Services contract, and (ii) which negotiating party first presented these as options.


Arrangements to reduce ferry fares to the Northern Isles were first set out in the Programme for Government 2016 - 2017. On 22 August 2017, the Scottish Ministers announced a scheme to reduce fares on Northern Isles ferry services, to be rolled out in the first half of 2018. The implementation of this scheme to reduce fares has been delayed, pending the conclusion of Pentland Ferries’ State aid complaint to the European Commission.

There was an initial 20% reduction for passengers and non-commercial vehicles on the Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick route in August 2018.  There was a further three-year fares freeze and 20% reduction in cabin prices announced on 20 September 2019.  These reductions were raised by the Scottish Ministers on 30 July 2019, agreed with operator by means of a contract variation on 8 October 2019 and will take effect from 1 January 2020.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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