A PROMINENT Cumbrae businessman has called for the removal of cheaper ferry tickets for cars following a crunch meeting with Scotland's transport minister.

John McHenery, members of the Cumbrae Ferry Group and the island’s community council met with Jenny Gilruth and her team to discuss continuing issues on the route - including the chaos seen on busy summer days.

Mr McHenery says a number of promises were made - but now island residents will have wait and see if any improvements are made.

He said: “A number of issues were considered, many of which had already been covered at regular meetings with no success.

“The transport minister confirmed that her team will review our request for a fit-for-purpose lifeline service, so there is never a situation where there are no ferries running.

“They also said they would look at our request to bring back the season tickets, but we hope they’re not just saying the right things and actually follow through.

“The issue of marshalling on both sides was also raised and the minister will write to the council about this to try and lessen the chaos on busy days.”

Iain Morrison, owner of Millport Motors, believes there will be no improvement to the issues seen on both sides of the water whilst travel is still cheap due to Road Equivalent Tariff (RET).

He said: "The main cause of all this chaos has been the sponsorship of cars coming over at a cheaper price.

“We don’t want to lose RET on foot passengers but when it was offered to cars it has became the source of the traffic issues.

“With the green island project, that would have been a good opportunity to row back on that as we move towards carbon neutral.

“It’s been of no benefit to islanders and is has actually caused chaos, which we are sponsoring with public money.

“Cars are effectively being sponsored to come here and clog up the roads instead of paying the expected price.”

Conservative councillor Todd Ferguson, who lives on the island, says Cumbrae’s position close to the mainland means cars are not required there as much as on others.

He said: “There are some islands in Scotland that restrict vehicular access for people that aren’t residents - and it works well.

“The challenge for the minister would be figuring out how to make this work in practice without upsetting the island economy.

“A case could be made that Cumbrae is unique because of its proximity to the mainland, so perhaps that could be a unique selling point that's put to the minister.”