Scotland on Sunday readers' letters: Travel pass removal is another failing from Calmac

Calmac decided to remove yearly and monthly travel passes from the Largs to Cumbrae route earlier this year. The community and the local ferry users group campaigned to have the passes retained. Before its removal earlier this year, the yearly cost for a pass was £463.40. Anyone travelling five days on or off the island will now be looking at an annual cost of £864!

Calmac blamed the introduction of the new ticketing system and the fact that Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) is implemented on the route for removing the passes. However, thanks to countless meetings with the ferry users group, Calmac Management agreed to keep the one-month pass until the introduction of the new ticketing system. But Calmac made a U-turn on thair decision to carry on issuing the monthly passes, stating that it was advertised that the travel pass would be stopped. Management has misled the local community and users group.

Once again, locals and people who travel to the island for work are being punished. You can buy a rail card and a weekly/monthly pass for bus services across Scotland, but there is now no reduction for frequent travellers on the ferry. RET does not benefit the local community and the cost to travel is the same as it was prior to its introduction. The cost of living on an island is already high with the increased cost of heating, oil, electricity, food and countless other items. To now have to pay more to travel to work is unacceptable.

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With the current ferry scandal front and centre this is just another failing from CalMac and the Scottish Government.

GV of Dales Marine Services Ltd yard in Greenock where the troubled Ferguson ferry Glen Sannox has been dry docked.
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Christopher Sutherland, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae

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Time out

As Nicola Sturgeon's seemingly relentless attacks on Tory leaders demonstrate, the separatist movement likes a Tory in Downing Street to dislike – yet with Keir Starmer holding a 17-point lead over Liz Truss, how would Sturgeon manage if a centre-left Prime Minister comes to power?

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Starmer and Sturgeon roughly compete for the same centre-left territory. But, with regard to the SNP's UK break-up dreams, it'll be down to Westminster seat numbers held by each party. If Starmer achieves an outright majority, then the SNP has no leverage and is faced with a centre-left UK government less easy to bait than the Tories.

The SNP’s ideal arrangement (emphatically ruled out by Starmer) would be a minority Labour government it can prop up in return for granting indyref2 – yet Labour may be in a position to turn to the LibDems to achieve a majority.

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Starmer may find he too can parrot "now is not the time” for quite a few years yet.

Martin Redfern, Melrose Roxburghshire

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Running scared

The run on the pound on global stock markets highlights the clear scepticism there is of Chancellor Kwarteng’s mini-budget, as he pledges borrowing at increasingly expensive rates to give tax cuts to the wealthiest. Contrast this with the tightening to Universal Credit rules further bludgeoning the poorest.

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The widely discredited “trickle-down economics” theory the mini-budget represents is a massive gamble, and one that will not succeed, pushing borrowing, inflation and interest rates higher.

The decreased value of the pound has put further pressure on struggling households, and fuelled by unsustainable public finances it is hard to see anything but dire economic consequences.

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Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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