Bus user ‘dis­gusted’ at pay­ing double due to new timetable

The Oban Times - - News -

CON­CERNS over weekly bus­pass costs in Lochaber have be­come a re­al­ity as some pas­sen­gers are finding them­selves hav­ing to buy two tick­ets to get to and from work.

Bron­wyn Stra­chan lives in Cor­pach but works in Fort Wil­liam with the Buzz Project. As with many work­places, her shift pat­tern varies and, de­pend­ing on the project’s needs, she will some­times start at 10am one day and fin­ish at 10pm the next.

De­spite this, up un­til last month Bron­wyn only needed to buy a weekly ticket with Stage­coach for £9.90 to cover her com­mute.

But since the High­land Coun­cil rene­go­ti­ated con­tracts with bus op­er­a­tors, changes to ser­vices have caused her travel costs to double.

Bron­wyn’s mum, Jan­ice, told the Lochaber Times: ‘ Shiel starts tak­ing the run from Cor­pach to Fort Wil­liam around about 6pm, and be­cause there still has not been any agree­ment where Shiel and Stage­coach ac­cept the one pass, Bron­wyn is now hav­ing to buy one for day and one for night so it costs her £ 20 a week.

‘ The daily tick­ets are £1.90 which is a for­tune and re­ally un­der­mines a young girl’s ef­forts to get her­self into work.’

The tim­ing of the changeover also neg­a­tively ef­fected Bron­wyn.

Jan­ice ex­plained: ‘ Bron­wyn had a monthly ticket that was valid up un­til April 28 but the changes came into force on April 24 and be­cause Shiel would not ac­cept her Stage­coach pass for es­sen­tially the same jour­ney, she has lost four days of travel and had to cough up again.

‘ It is dis­gust­ing. These com­pa­nies are only think­ing of them­selves and I have heard of many other pas­sen­gers who been af­fected in the same way.’

A spokesper­son for Stage­coach North Scot­land said: ‘ There are now two op­er­a­tors pro­vid­ing ser­vices be­tween Cor­pach and Fort Wil­liam as a re­sult of the re­cent High­land Coun­cil ten­der process.

‘ Unlimited travel us­ing Stage­coach buses be­tween Fort Wil­liam and Cor­pach is avail­able from as lit­tle as £1.35 per day us­ing our four-week megarider ticket.

‘ We ac­knowl­edge the de­sire for multi- op­er­a­tor tick­et­ing in the Lochaber area and con­tinue to be avail­able to dis­cuss this with the High­land Coun­cil and other bus op­er­a­tors in the area.’

At the point of the ten­ders be­ing agreed, High­land Coun­cil said it was aware of the emerg­ing is­sue and when asked for an up­date a spokesper­son told the Lochaber Times: ‘ We are cur­rently un­able to pro­vide multi- op­er­a­tor bus tick­ets in Lochaber and are look­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with op­er­a­tors to po­ten­tially pro­vide such a ser­vice in the future.’

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