People living on the busiest bus routes in Inverness are to benefit from free late night bus services, starting from tomorrow (Friday). The “Nightrider” services will operate between 11pm and 4 am on Friday and Saturday nights until the end of December with special services available on Christmas Eve and Hogmanay.
A total of 20 extra buses will run each night on three services operated by Stagecoach in Inverness. Service 115 will serve Wester Inshes, Old Hilton and New Hilton. Service 116 will serve Culloden, Westhill and Smithton and Service 117 runs to Mile End, Kinmylies and Scorguie. Each service will run hourly, all leaving from Queensgate.
The ‘Nightrider’ bus scheme is being run by Stagecoach and is funded by the Scottish Government’s Safer Streets Funding and is supported by Inverness BID, Northern Constabulary, Safe Inverness and The Highland Council.
The initiative is part of Operation Respect, which aims to increase safety in Inverness city centre by reducing alcohol-related disorder. The Operation Respect partnership recognises that these problems can be at their most acute over the festive period. As well as the Nightrider services, Northern Constabulary will be providing an additional 8 police officers to patrol the city centre during peak hours. Taxi marshals will be on duty to monitor taxi queues to prevent trouble.
Provost Jimmy Gray, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Inverness City Committee, said: “I am delighted to welcome these additional bus services, which will make life easier for people getting home from a night out, ease congestion at our taxi ranks and hopefully reduce outbreaks of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour, which often occur while people are waiting to get home.”
Scott Pearson, Divisional Traffic Manager, Stagecoach in the Highlands, said: “Stagecoach in Inverness is happy to be providing the people of Inverness with a safe and easy alternative to travel this December with the Nightrider services. We have had success in the past with the night service and are pleased to be working in partnership to offer the services for free this year. With the credit crunch affecting spending this Christmas, free travel after a night out should come as a welcome treat.”
Northern Constabulary’s Inverness Area Commander, Chief Inspector Julian Innes, said: “This extra funding is excellent news for Inverness. It will be a valuable contribution towards enabling the practical arrangements for ensuring the safest possible environment in the city over the festive period."
To find out more about the services available during this time and to view the nightrider timetable, visit www.stagecoachbus.com/highlands.