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Transport Scotland has confirmed that an increase in ferry fares due to take effect across the CalMac network on 26 March is to go ahead as planned.

But CalMac have also announced today (Thursday 4 March) that the winter timetable, originally due to end as usual on 25 March, will operate for an extra month.

The timetable change is planned to coincide with the Scottish Government's planned easing of covid-19 travel restrictions.

The summer timetable is now set to be launched on 26 April, Government guidance permitting, following the announcement that restrictions are set to remain in place in Scotland until then at the earliest.

This means that fares will now rise a month ahead of the timetable change, despite yesterday’s call from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for any price rise to remain in abeyance while the pandemic was still affecting business. (Read the full story here

CalMac’s community board also told representatives of Transport Scotland last week (Friday 26 February) that this is not the time to put up the cost of moving goods to and from the islands. 

Bookings for the period between 26 March and 25 April have been temporarily paused, but the summer timetable can be accessed on the CalMac website at 

Robert Morrison, operations director for CalMac, said: "CalMac and Transport Scotland remain flexible and responsive to feedback from communities and any increase in service demand. We are ready and able to deliver a full summer timetable quickly when this is required."