Public Transport contracts awarded
The Highland Council’s Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee has awarded 111 bus contracts and 13 subsidised taxi contracts at a total cost of £2,255,891, which will take effect from 1 January next year. In doing so, the Council has contained the increase in the cost of public transport contracts to 5.4% - less than half the national level of price increases.
According to Councillor Charlie King, Chairman of the TEC Services Committee, this is a remarkable achievement given the rise in fuel costs and the Council’s requirement for bus operators to use better quality vehicles.
He said: “At a national level, price increases have been averaging 11.2%. To have limited the increase to 5.4% and, at the same time, improve the specification of services, clearly demonstrates an effective tendering process and the benefits of working with our colleagues in Education Culture and Sport, who provide school transport.”
Committee members were told that almost all routes will be retained in their present form or slightly improved. Subsidised taxi contracts will be renewed in some remote areas where a bus would not be practical. Bus routes in Nairnshire, north Black Isle and the Gairloch/Aultbea area will be converted to dial-a-bus, giving greater flexibility in timing and ability to serve places not on the fixed routes.
The redesign of some timetables and increased integration with school transport had helped to increase the effectiveness of the network.
In a simultaneous exercise, the Council is renewing school bus and taxi contracts, valued at £9 million and carrying over 11,000 pupils daily.