Delay over new buses questioned
SCOTTISH Citylink is investing £1.2 million in new buses for the Fort William to Inverness route.
But Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry community council chairman John Fotheringham has questioned why passengers need to wait until November to see an improvement in services.
The coach operator is introducing four new state- of-the-art coaches to the 919 route from November, replacing the current 10-year- old vehicles. The new coaches feature USB points, WiFi, toilet, air conditioning and reclining seats.
Mr Fotheringham wrote to operations director Peter Knight claiming the current coaches ‘still give the travelling public cause for concern’.
He said: ‘On May 31, the 8.55am service from Fort William arrived at Spean Bridge late because there were serious issues with the door. Not an uncommon fault which has been reported many, many times. The driver did his best, but every stop meant two or three minutes manhandling the door to close. The upshot was it arrived in Inverness 35 minutes late at 11.30am.’
Mr Fotheringham questioned why this was allowed to happen as both Stagecoach North of Scotland and Citylink claim no coach leaves the depots without passing a 30-point reliability inspection.
Responding, Mr Knight said he was ‘concerned’ to hear of this incident: ‘I have asked Stagecoach North Scotland for an explanation as to what the specific issues were and what has been done to rectify those issues. This inconveniences passengers.’ Mr Fotheringham told the Lochaber
Times the ‘ whole thing is appalling’. He said: ‘ Why do we need to wait until November to get reliable buses? We have seen it all before. They don’t listen, have little regard for the travelling public, change the timetables without consultation and, despite a catalogue of complaints, Citylink continues to use Stagecoach North of Scotland as the preferred main operator. After three years of knocking our head against a brick wall, Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry Community Council is withdrawing its representation from the Transport Forum and Bus Users Group.’