Bus com­pany pub­lishes new timetable

The Oban Times - - News -

SHIEL Buses has pub­lished a new timetable af­ter se­cur­ing 12 High­land Coun­cil pub­lic trans­port con­tracts.

The Fort Wil­liam bus com­pany will con­tinue its cur­rent ser­vices and has taken over six con­tracts pre­vi­ously held by Stage­coach North of Scot­land.

The new timetable will take ef­fect from Mon­day April 24.

Shiel Buses will run two coaches on the Fort Wil­liam to In­ver­ness route, with some ser­vices go­ing to and from Raig­more Hospi­tal, In­ver­ness.

The com­pany has also re­in­stated a morn­ing ser­vice from Achar­a­cle on a Thurs­day. This route was pre­vi­ously run by the coun­cil but was stopped fol­low­ing coun­cil money-sav­ing cuts.

Caol and Mal­laig coun­cil­lor Ben Thomp­son said it was fan­tas­tic to see a lo­cal com­pany com­pete with a na­tional one and win so many of the High­land Coun­cil con­tracts.

But con­cerns about cross-town bus ser­vices are grow­ing fol­low­ing news the two con­tracted op­er­a­tors run­ning the ser­vice will not recog­nise each other’s tick­ets.

The coun­cil has awarded the ser­vice be­tween Fort Wil­liam and Cor­pach to dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tors. Shiel Buses will run the ser­vice dur­ing the day and Stage­coach at night. Peo­ple who live in Fort Wil­liam and work in Cor­pach and buy a weekly pass had ques­tioned how this will af­fect them as they would be us­ing one op­er­a­tor to get to work and an­other to get home.

At a meet­ing of the Lochaber bus users group on Tues­day March 21, Shiel buses and Stage­coach said the ser­vices will not be in­te­grated, mean­ing joint tick­ets will not be avail­able and the com­pa­nies will not recog­nise each other’s tick­ets. The news means peo­ple will have to buy two sep­a­rate bus tick­ets.

A Stage­coach rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: ‘ We have raised a com­mer­cial joint ticket with the High­land Coun­cil, but we need the coun­cil to fa­cil­i­tate that dis­cus­sion.’

Legally, bus op­er­a­tors can­not dis­cuss ticket prices and fares with each other.

Ear­lier this month, Shiel Buses ap­plied for plan­ning per­mis­sion to turn land at Glen Ne­vis Busi­ness Park into a bus park­ing area. The com­pany cur­rently oc­cu­pies unit four at the busi­ness park with plans to de­velop 19 ve­hi­cle park­ing spa­ces on unit five, which lies within the In­ven­to­ried Bat­tle­field of In­ver­lochy.

The full Shiel timetable can be found at http:// www.shiel­buses.co.uk.

The Lochaber Times con­tacted Shiel buses but it did not re­spond be­fore the pa­per went to press.

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