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North boat ferry fare consultation Monday 3rd October


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Shetland News has reported that there is to be a consultation on the North boat ferry fares, on October the 3rd, at the Shetland museum and archives. 

Can I implore every one to have an input into this. We all use the service and know that the cost has spiraled over the last ten years. I find I can only go away once a year now at best, as with grandchildren, the cost is enormous. I'm on boat this Friday (family of 5, with cabin and car) and the ferry has cost more than the self catering accommodation in wales for a (week) 4 nights in hotels and the fuel cost there and back (1000 miles) put together!!!

If you want a comparison try this; go to this link for DFDS sailings from Newcastle to the Hook of Holland:


This is about equivalent of our journey to/from Shetland, is un-subsidized and still comes out £260 cheaper than Northlink for same dates we are traveling with simillar cabin and car.

Think it says it all- If an un-subsidized operator can do equivalent journey for so much less,and make it profitable, then someone is making a LOT of money out of us!!!

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It's interesting how people always compare the cost of journeys to and from Shetland with the cost of journeys elsewhere, but take no other factors into account.


Journeys to and from Shetland are niche. We don't have a large population and although tourism is important, relative to the rest of the UK the market is very small.


If I compared the cost of a taxi to the cost of a bus and made the observation that the taxi driver was making a lot of money from us, the implication being that I was being overcharged, people would rightly tell me that it's different because the bus holds more people and so can charge less per passenger.


But when it comes to travel to Shetland (whether by ferry or by plane) nobody seems to consider the economy of scale that other routes can take advantage of.

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Yes, if there was money to be made there would be competition. The big problem is the small population  and therefore attracting transport companies to run routes which are difficult, to say the least. Just one of the costs of living in such a remote and wonderful place.

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^.....and the outfit who had the 'Norseman' long years ago. All met the same fate.


They could undercut the existing monopoly service provider to begin with because of his high fares, but he could equal or undercut them even if he temprorily operated at a loss, because he could live on his previously made profits short term. Leaving the newbie stranded, as not being so well estblished didn't have the resources to survive a protracted price war, and/or take gambles.


The story of Shetland over and over again, once a single operator in numerous fields attains a monopoly or dominant market share, they effectively close it to anyone else, the market just isn't big enough to allow a viable opening. Then they can do, and charge what they like.


The boat, the plane, fuel oil, agricultural feed and probably numerous more are all the same, been for years.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I find I can only go away once a year now at best, as with grandchildren, the cost is enormous. I'm on boat this Friday (family of 5, with cabin and car) and the ferry has cost more than the self catering accommodation in wales for a (week) 4 nights in hotels and the fuel cost there and back (1000 miles) put together!!!



I could have written this ^^^ myself; except that in my case, I do the journey in reverse.  {Where did you stay in Wales ? - would you recommend it ?}


I live in a tiny village called Trefonen in North-West Shropshire, right on the border with Wales.  In July, I went up to Shetland with my two sons; the cost of the ferry (car/cabin - return) was more than we paid for ten days of self-catering accommodation on Burra.


My sons have flown quite a few times, but they much prefer the ferry - they loved not just the cabin, but all the facilities, such as being able to go and see a film.   


Apart from the obvious issue of cost, the other important consideration, is the requirement for the payment for the ferry to be made in full at the time of booking.  With accommodation, it is (usually) possible to pay a deposit and then pay off the balance at a later date - when funds have been replenished.  Having to pay upwards of £600 in a single hit, means quite a jolt to my monthly disposable income - and rather difficult, when trying (at the same time) to set money aside for spending whilst on holiday.


What I can tell you though, is that it was well worth the money; every aspect of the holiday was brilliant !  We saw Orcas, went on a brilliant fishing trip, and experienced a fantastic night of live music in The Lounge Bar.  The folk that we met were great people and most welcoming.  


My two sons are probably fairly typical, in as much they have to be prised off their gaming devices, to get them to do anything.  They had a computer-free holiday . . . . . . .  and loved it !


We can't wait to return !

Edited by lastpubrunner
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I'd highly recommend where we have just stayed in wales. It is called Wergochlyn farm, Abergavenny. You can contact them direct on 01873 857357. (We booked through Snap trip, but wifey there says to call direct next time we go, and I will)



I've taken a look at their website and it looks really good, with impressive facilities such as a hot tub and pool.  


I probably wouldn't stay there though, but only because the countryside is very similar to where we live - that's what we love about Shetland, it's entirely different (for us).

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i see Shetland is being punished again for not being an S N P convert ...first the ferries are ignored and now education has got a kick in the teeth ...i was very suspicious of wir Shetland but i think they have more savvy that me ..we should consider the Northern League of Viking countries and look to what they can offer ...we are in the right area of rich waters in more ways than one 

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