TICKET prices for ferries on the Clyde and Hebrides and Northern Isles networks will be frozen at their current rate until March 2024.

Transport Scotland announced the six-month extension to the existing fare freeze on Wednesday.

The government body said that keeping ticket prices at their current level would “help people and businesses from Scotland’s remote rural and island communities”.

It further said that a review of future fares will take into account feedback from island communities in an effort to remain “sustainable, affordable, and fair”.

READ MORE: Chair of island committee 'resigned SNP membership' over ferries issue

Transport minister Fiona Hyslop, who came back into government after Kevin Stewart stepped back from the role, said that the cost of living crisis had arguably hit island communities harder.

Hyslop said: “The decision to extend the fare freeze on our ferry networks will help support the island communities that depend on these vital services.

“The Scottish Government is acutely aware of the current challenges being faced by these communities, particularly with disruption to services on the Clyde and Hebrides network, although the situation will improve as new tonnage starts to join the fleet from next year.

“The ongoing cost of living impacts are also arguably more challenging for our islands than any other part of the country, so I hope this fares freeze will continue to help residents and businesses from that perspective.

“Our Fair Fares Review, which will report by the end of this year and recommend a package of measures which can be considered for implementation from 2024-25 onwards, will aim to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares that supports the future long term viability of a public transport system that is accessible, available and affordable for people throughout Scotland.”