Fort/Oban bus link better but more still needs done
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.