Fort/Oban bus link better but more still needs done

The Oban Times - - News - KATIE CARABINE kcara­bine@oban­

LOCHABER res­i­dents trav­el­ling to Oban for work can now make the jour­ney by bus and ar­rive in time to start the work­ing day.

But they still can’t get a bus home if they work a full day.

The good news about the morn­ing ser­vice comes af­ter a south Lochaber res­i­dent con­tacted bus com­pa­nies and cam­paigned for a link to be put in place, not just for work­ers but for peo­ple us­ing Oban hos­pi­tal.

Af­ter about 15 months, West Coast Mo­tors ex­tended its num­ber 405 school ser­vice be­tween Ap­pin and Oban to reach Duror, where it meets the Stage­coach num­ber 144 school ser­vice to Kin­lochleven, which also goes to Duror.

This means pas­sen­gers can switch be­tween the two buses, cre­at­ing an in­di­rect link ar­riv- ing at Oban’s sta­tion square at 8.49am and Glen­gal­lan Road near Oban hos­pi­tal at 8.56am.

The Citylink ser­vice doesn’t leave Fort Wil­liam un­til 11am.

But there is still no link in place for work­ers re­turn­ing to Lochaber at the end of a work­ing day, with the Citylink bus leav­ing Oban at 4.40pm.

How­ever, on ar­rival in Fort Wil­liam, this bus sits in the sta­tion for around 30 min­utes be­fore con­tin­u­ing on its jour­ney to In­ver­garry.

One sug­ges­tion is that in­stead of this wait­ing time in Fort Wil­liam, the bus could leave Oban later, there­fore mak­ing it more con­ve­nient for work­ers.

Fur­ther­more, as the morn­ing buses are school ser­vices, there is an is­sue for peo­ple want­ing to use this ser­vice out­with term times.

The south Lochaber res­i­dent also raised con­cerns about the lack of bike racks on the West Coast Mo­tors buses, which he sug­gests may be off-put­ting to tourists wish­ing to use the ser­vice, and a lack of ac­ces­si­bil­ity for wheel­chair users.

He stresses that when the rail­way branch from the Oban line to Bal­lachul­ish was closed in the 1960s, South Lochaber res­i­dents were promised the al­ter­ative pub­lic trans­port links would be ‘as good as or better than’ this rail link, a prom­ise which he feels has not been lived up to.

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