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Discounted ferry fares for schools taking pupils to extra-curricular activities was launched last week.
A 50 per cent discount for school minibuses on board CalMac vessels was introduced across the Clyde and Hebrides network on December 1.
The decision by Transport Scotland to reduce this cost follows campaigning by the Ferries Community Board, which has been calling for a fare reduction so that young people can benefit.
Robbie Drummond, managing director of CalMac, said: ‘We are delighted that school groups will benefit from this new initiative, which will help them access educational, sporting and cultural activities. CalMac are dedicated to supporting our island communities and we look forward to welcoming even more school groups on board our vessels.’
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey said: ‘I’m really pleased to announce this discount, which will make it more affordable for school groups to travel to and from the islands for educational, cultural and sporting activities.
‘In the longer term, we’ll review making the discount permanent as part of the ongoing fares review being carried out in the Islands Connectivity Plan.’
Welcoming the announcement, Angus Campbell from the Ferries Community Board said: ‘We have long campaigned for such a change and are confident it will make a real difference to the equality of access to these types of activities for our Island young people.
‘We will continue to engage with Government to ensure cost of travel is not a barrier to young people living, working and learning on our Islands.’
For details about eligibility, please visit the CalMac website.
The discount will be reviewed after the initial year to establish how it has been taken up and how it is funded. In the longer term, the discount will be considered as part of the fares policy review in the Islands Connectivity Plan.