New Council public transport contracts awarded
Following on from the decision on bus route savings taken by members of the Community Services Committee in December, the Highland Council has renewed its public transport contracts from 24 April 2017.
At the December meeting to consider what level of support should be approved for the future provision of public bus services, the Committee decided to protect the majority of daytime and evening services but, due to the difficult budget position, acknowledged that their decision would necessitate in some service level reduction and some service cessation.
Many bus routes in Highland are operated commercially with bus companies running them without financial support from the Council. The Council awards contracts for services, where possible, which are not provided commercially.
New contracts for bus services in Sutherland were awarded in 2015. Two `cross boundary’ services (Contract 815 Ullapool-Lochinver-Drumbeg and Contract 916 Bettyhill-Reay-Thurso) were however, affected by the Committee decisions.
Chair of the Community Services Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “The Council agreed to a savings target over four years of £2.246 million on the £15 million budget for bus and home to school transport. Committee members carefully considered the impacts of any change to services particularly in rural areas and weighed these up with costs, level of demand and alternative options available in making decisions about where to make the savings.
“While we are pleased to have been able to retain the same level of service on the majority of routes, due to financial constraints it has been necessary to make service reductions on some routes and some contracts have been withdrawn.