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Island's Ferrys and Tunnels


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Reading the Shetland Times (page 7) one week after the ferry consultation in Bressay I was amazed to see that the SIC are still looking into the possability of building tunnels to Bressay, Whalsay, Unst and Yell at the cost of over £230 million. How can they even contamplate this when they are over £30 million in debt and are looking at cutting the Bressay ferry down from a five man crew to a four man crew? Or the possability of reducing the amount of Ferry runs not only cutbacks to Bressay but cutbacks to other islands Ferrys aswell Am I missing something here or does this sound to you as it sounds to me - totally insane

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Given the state of the Islands finances, it has never been more important for the council to be seeking funding for these projects.

 

Remember that is what it is, they are looking for ways to fund fixed links. Everyone knows it can't be done out of "the kitty", but if someone can find a source of funding to provide links that can cut down the need for ferries the saving is obvious.

 

This is something I hope the council is doing across the board. It has become clear in several areas that the councils of the past have just gone to the reserves for projects that could well have been largely, if not completely funded from elsewhere.

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Sensible financial planning in the last 3-4 decades should have allowed for the downturn now faced by economy and investment in tunnels/bridges should have been dealt with at that time.

Unfortunately it was spend, spend, spend while we have it and hope the good times go on forever.

 

Decision makers and planners of the 1970's through to the 'noughties' have a lot to answer for

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What people need to realise is that sometimes you need to spend to save in the long run. By investing in fixed links the council would then save on ferries in the future.

 

If it does go ahead i can see people campaigning against it as it will result in ferry crews being made redundant.

 

My personal feeling is that fixed links are the way forward but i wouldnt be surprised if something ridiculous like ferry crews being kept on incase tunnels are closed etc happens, which would mean we end up with no savings at all.

 

Plus I can't see the council pushing this through at the moment with all the cuts to other areas in Shetland. Unless they can get a large chunk of money from the government! but alas the people of power down in London or Edinburgh probably don't really give a crap about fixed links between islands in Shetland.

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It depends what the SIC vision is for the future of peripheral areas. In 20 years time will there be many people left in the isles? How much is fuel for the Yell sound ferries likely to cost in 2032? What about vessel replacement costs? Tunnels should have been dug years ago.
Last time I read about the SIC looking for funding for tunnels they were told there simply wasnt the funding to do so because of the recession. Already there are six properties up for sale in Bressay because they knew that the ferry prices were going to increase which they have done so. House prices in Bressay are alot less than on shetland mainland, but if you have to cross over to Lerwick for your work five days a week at £12.50 a day it adds up to £250 a month, so you are having to pay a mortgage on top of a mortgage. There are not going to be as many islanders at this rate with the overhead costs and a recession on, so it isnt going to be worth spending an estimated basic capital cost of £26 million except to re-populate the island.Yes i agree that we do not know what the fuel prices are going to be in say 2020 but at the end of the day no one does ,they could fall again as far as anybody knows, its too far away and too unpredictabal for anyone to know. There are other benefactors such as how long the recession is going to last, the oil and gas companys are going to fare longterm in exploration, and the outcome of the European Union which at the moment is very unstable. Too much to even contemplate looking at possably spending over £230 million on tunnels and that only if the geology of the rock is right can it be done.
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^ Either your fares are wrong or the SIC website is incorrect? :?

 

http://www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/documents/2012A4FaresSheet.pdf

Nope!.......£12.50 is the fare from December 2012. Return fare of course and can be cut to £8.08 by buying a 10 journey ticket. Still a lot of money just to get across a little bit of water to get to and from work.
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^ Either your fares are wrong or the SIC website is incorrect? :?

 

http://www.shetland.gov.uk/ferries/documents/2012A4FaresSheet.pdf

Nope!.......£12.50 is the fare from December 2012. Return fare of course and can be cut to £8.08 by buying a 10 journey ticket. Still a lot of money just to get across a little bit of water to get to and from work.

 

But isn't that for a car and driver? Does everyone need a car to get to work in Lerwick?

 

I take it bus fares are increasing also?

 

I recall a comment on the other ferry thread about £1 to go to Fetlar/Unst(?) or vice versa and how it would affect businesses and tourism there, or words to that effect, as the person did their shopping on one of the islands occasionally, etc. Well, we have to pay bus fares if we want to pop up the road to a shop about 3 miles away and that's more than a quid. I honestly can't see how expecting tourists to pay a £1 is going to put them off, to be frank.

 

Edit: Cheers for the clarification by the way re the £12.50.

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... Already there are six properties up for sale in Bressay because they knew that the ferry prices were going to increase which they have done so. House prices in Bressay are alot less than on shetland mainland, but if you have to cross over to Lerwick for your work five days a week at £12.50 a day it adds up to £250 a month, so you are having to pay a mortgage on top of a mortgage. ...

 

House prices in Bressay aren't a lot different to some locations outside of Lerwick. Many people commute into town by bus and so they have fares to pay. Then those say working in town when there isn't a bus for them to get to work have to pay for petrol/diesel and the running costs of a car. Regardless of where you live, if you take out a mortgage you should factor in fare increases but you're not "having to pay a mortgage on top of a mortgage".

 

However, when compared to the fares for other islands, it does seem a lot for such a small stretch of water.

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Whalsay crossing = 25 mins, Yell crossing = 20 mins, Bressay crossing = around 5 mins - all three charged at the same fare.

 

Isn't it time Bressay folk stopped subsidising folk travelling to/from the other isles? Fair fares should be priced at a rate per mile or a rate per minute average crossing time, should they not?

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I recall a comment on the other ferry thread about £1 to go to Fetlar/Unst(?) or vice versa and how it would affect businesses and tourism there, or words to that effect, as the person did their shopping on one of the islands occasionally, etc. Well, we have to pay bus fares if we want to pop up the road to a shop about 3 miles away and that's more than a quid. I honestly can't see how expecting tourists to pay a £1 is going to put them off, to be frank.

 

Like the roads in the rest of Shetland, the ferry between Unst and Fetlar is free. When they took the fares off the crossing, they also reduced the ferry crew - the wages to collect the fares was more than the income raised, so it is not as simple as charging a pound, unless you use an "honesty" system.

The Yell sound crossing is currently 10 pounds, soon to rise.

If somebody from Yell wanted to pop up to Unst to do their shopping they are looking at minimum 15 mile round trip. For somebody to go from Haroldswick to Aywick for some "cheap" fuel, probably 40 miles.

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