The consultation has now closed.
Orkney Islands Council is inviting the community to attend public meetings as part of a review of how internal ferry services are charged for across the county.
The objectives of the tariff review are to:
Chair of the Council’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Jim Foubister, said: “We have developed three different tariff models as part of background work for the review, to help us calculate the impacts of different tariff structures. But we want the community to inform us about what they think is a sensible and fair approach to charging for ferries. We are keen to hear public views on alternative models, suggested ticketing types and the booking system.
“It’s important that people take into account not only how they use the ferries as passengers, but also how prices impact on tourism to the islands, and the impact of the cost of freight transport on island economies.”
For all three pricing models, some fares would go up and some would go down, but it’s expected overall income generated would remain the same as current levels.
As part of the review, officers are also investigating the costs and timescales for the introduction of smart card technologies and online booking systems which could reduce paper tickets and provide a more customer friendly booking and payment process.
A series of public meetings with every isles-based community council will start next week (October 17) where the Council will ask for feedback on a range of proposed changes including measures to reduce current pricing anomalies, such as:
Members of the public are encouraged to attend these meetings and will be able to speak to transport officials from the Council.
For anyone unable to attend a public meeting, the Council will also be undertaking a survey of businesses and of households. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at all the public meetings, local rural shops, on board ferries and at OIC Customer Services and libraries.
Councillor Foubister added: “It’s vital we reach all stakeholders, and therefore we will also be meeting with focus groups such as island hauliers; the tourism sector; disability and equality groups; as well as the public sector itself through the Orkney Community Planning Partnership.”
The consultation period has been extended to allow for communities where public meetings were postoned due to bad weather to consider their responses, and will now end on January 4 2012, with a report to the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee in February 2012.