Road equivalent tariff
Road equivalent tariff, more commonly known as RET, is a ferry pricing system that was introduced on a trial basis in 2008 by the Scottish Government. It saw the cost of sailings brought down to match a formula generated by the government so that ferry tickets would, theoretically, cost no more than an equivalent journey on the road, although the price per mile is still considerably higher than that paid by most businesses for employees using their own vehicle for business purposes.
To date, RET only applies to services operated by Calmac ferries. There is no commitment to apply it to council or commercially operated routes, and it will only come on stream for the Orkney and Shetland services in the longer term, if the ticket price would otherwise exceed the RET, as at present it is below the RET value. The scheme is backed financially by the Scottish Government.
The first routes to benefit were the mainland connections to the Western Isles and Coll & Tiree:
- Lewis Ferry
- Uig-Harris Ferry
- Uig - North Uist Ferry
- Lochboisdale Ferry
- Barra Ferry
- Coll and Tiree Ferry
After some disquiet from islanders the ticket prices on the inter-island Sound of Barra Ferry and Sound of Harris Ferry services were also reduced to be no more than the RET covered routes operated as part of the mainland sailings, from Castlebay to Lochboisdale and Lochmaddy to Tarbert.
From October 2012 the RET was extended to Islay and its neighbours
From October 2014 RET also covered the services to Arran:
Finally, in October the following year all remaining Calmac services received RET funding.