Bring back half-hourly buses plea

The Oban Times - - News - DAVID McPHEE lglen@oban­

RES­I­DENTS of Dun­beg want the old bus ser­vice to be re­in­stated af­ter an in­crease in de­mand for seats dur­ing sum­mer months.

New houses in the vil­lage and more peo­ple at­tend­ing The Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Marine Science (SAMS) have put pres­sure on the ser­vice through­out the year.

Res­i­dents say when the bus gets to Dun­beg it is full to ca- pac­ity with hol­i­day­mak­ers from North Ledaig Car­a­van Park.

They claim they are be­ing re­fused en­try due to a no stand­ing pol­icy on some of the buses and hav­ing to wait a whole hour for the next bus.

Mar­garet Macfar­lane, 61, from Dun­beg, said: ‘Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil cut the fund­ing for the half-hour-bus ser­vice to and from Dun­beg, but since then there have been more peo­ple us­ing it.

‘Ev­ery sum­mer we have prob­lems get­ting on the hourly bus be­cause peo­ple on hol­i­day at Ledaig use it. The half-hour ser­vice should be re­in­stated.’

Peter Guy, 70, also from Dun­beg, said: ‘One day when the bus was full, the driver man­aged to squeeze me on, but oth­ers were not al­lowed, as it was a no stand­ing bus.

‘Buses are still gen­er­ally run­ning late. In the good old days they were ev­ery half-hour.’

Coun­cil­lor Iain Stewart Ma­cLean, said: ‘I will be sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity in seek­ing to se­cure fund­ing to re­in­state a half-hourly ser­vice at peak times for this thriv­ing vil­lage.’

Colin Craig, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of West Coast Mo­tors, said: ‘The half-hourly ser­vice was in­tro­duced ahead of the planned hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in 2008.

‘Un­for­tu­nately it did not ma­te­ri­alise and the pa­tron­age level af­ter three-years’ op­er­a­tion could not sus­tain the cost of the ad­di­tional ve­hi­cle and driver used to pro­vide this level of fre­quency, hence it’s re­duc­tion back to ev­ery hour in 2011.

‘At present we are us­ing our high­est ca­pac­ity ve­hi­cles on this ser­vice to pro­vide as many seats as pos­si­ble. But if we can iden­tify that a 30-minute ser­vice is sus­tain­able to and from Dun­beg, we will look to rein­tro­duce it for next sum­mer.’

A spokes­woman for Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil said: ‘The coun­cil has plans for de­vel­op­ment in the Dun­beg area, and may visit again the fre­quency of this ser­vice in the fu­ture, but this may de­pend on avail­abil­ity of the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment’s bus in­vest­ment fund.’

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