Saturday, January 25, 2020
The skye times mobile

A Buckinghamshire-based car hire company has agreed to abolish a "ridiculous" ferries levy for customers using their vehicles to visit rural parts of Scotland, following pressure from Kate Forbes MSP.

Green Motion UK had been adding an extra surcharge of £125 – plus £20 for every day of the entire hire – when their cars travel on a ferry.

This meant that anyone using the Mallaig to Armadale, Corran Ferry, Cromarty to Nigg, the Small Isles and Skye to the Outer Hebrides crossings would all have incurred a minimum £145 fee – with a total additional surcharge of £405 if the hire was for a fortnight.

But Green Motion UK have now agreed to ditch the unpopular policy, following extensive pressure from Kate Forbes MSP.

The fees came to light after a Badenoch B&B owner (who asked not to be named) contacted Ms Forbes on behalf of two Swiss tourists, Maik Christen and Therese Rellstab, who cancelled a trip to the Outer Hebrides because of the astronomical extra costs in excess of £400.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch had already contacted other reputable car hire firms, such as Hertz, Avis and Europcar, who all confirmed they did not operate such a practice.

Kate Forbes MSP said: "I am absolutely delighted that Green Motion UK have changed their unfair policy on charging more for island-bound drivers.

"This outcome demonstrates that the battle for equity in the Highlands is winnable.

"It is a tremendous boost for the tourists that first identified the problem and the constituent who brought this to my attention."

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch added: "I have always contended that I have the most beautiful constituency in Scotland, and it's no surprise that tourists are keen to come and visit.

"The reality is that it can often be difficult to rely on public transport in the more rural parts of Scotland, meaning that hiring a car to get around is often a popular choice for holiday-makers as well as visiting business folk.

"I was pretty speechless when I learned that Green Motion UK had been applying a minimum additional levy of £145 for visitors using Scottish ferry crossings. To my knowledge no other car hire company was doing this.

"At a time when the Scottish Government is rolling out RET and helping to boost tourist numbers to remote rural areas, the last thing I want is car hire firms putting visitors off from coming to some of the world's most scenic destinations."


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