Lib Dem Ferry Antics "Unhelpful And Short-Sighted"
15 March 2012
Alyn Smith, SNP MEP for Scotland, has responded with astonishment to calls made by Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon for the European Commission to launch an investigation into the successful road-equivalent tariff (RET) initiative.The ferry fares discount scheme for island communities was introduced by the SNP when first in government in 2007 and has been an enormous success in helping island communities and visitors cope with the often high costs of travelling to and from islands to the mainland. The pilot is ongoing, and the European Commission has already been involved at every step of resolving the disastrous guddle on ferries policy the SNP government inherited in 2007.
"I would have thought that the Lib Dems, and George Lyon in particular, would have learnt by now that they simply do not do ferries very well. Happily, folk in Scotland's islands have long memories, and everyone knows that we in the SNP have every intention of extending RET to everywhere, once we know it works.
"The pilot is ongoing, and we are still navigating the difficult legal, competition and practical considerations of it. For the Lib Dems to call to extend an ongoing pilot to everywhere before lessons have been learnt proves what everyone already knew - that Lib Dems are more focused on spreading confusion and discontent than actually trying to get a decent service for everybody.
"George Lyon's call for the Transport Commissioner to investigate the roll out of the RET is nothing more than unhelpful and short-sighted. After years of inaction by the previous Labour-Lib Dem Executive on the cost of ferry fares, it is remarkable that they are now trying to undo the good work that this SNP government has done so far."
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