Reprieve for Viking Bus Station

Councillors have stopped short of recommending the Viking Bus Station waiting room and freight centre be closed.

Instead they agreed the market should be tested to see whether the much-valued resource might be taken on by someone outside the SIC.

Members of this afternoon’s special environment and transport committee rubbished a report urging the council shut down the service.

Following its recommendation to close the waiting room and relocate the freight centre to the SIC’s Gremista depot could have saved the council ¬£80,000. But councillors made clear during an hour-long debate that they were reluctant to close it without¬† carrying out more effective consultation.

There had been widespread opposition since the news broke that the waiting room might be closed. A group was set up on Facebook and an online petition was started which gathered more than 500 signatures in less than a week.

Committee chairman Allan Wishart recommended councillors hold off making a decision. He moved the decision be deferred so questions could be answered, and that a change of use could be sought for food or other retail use.

He urged the building be offered for sale or lease to test the market and, in the meantime, remain open.

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About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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7 comments

  1. Do not close it, that would be a negative action.

    Reply
  2. Damien Ristori

    I really do wonder if Phil Crossland from the SIC is on this planet when he mentions closing the waiting room.

    It really has to be the first bad joke of 2013 if Mr Crossland wants this to happen.

    We live almost in the Arctic or did you not realise that Mr Crossland?

    The waiting room is not only used by bus passengers but also local shoppers, tourist information hub, passengers waiting for hospital appointments and also people who may use it just as a shelter i.e bad weather.

    The last time the SIC closed the waiting room down at the Esplanade it caused an uproar so expect the same for the Viking waiting room.

    The station has been open since 1991 without a charge for lockers & luggage and should be considered as a option. Its still money at the end of the day.

    Reply
  3. Sandy McMillan

    Closing the Viking bus station waiting room facilities, is just the SIC having another go at the general public, especially the folk from outside Lerwick, maybe Phil Crossland and company will find that the user of the waiting rooms, will start to use the new office block at the North Ness, there is plenty of room and the office block is fine and warm, after all it is a public building, and plenty of room for buses in the area, so watch out Phil Crossland and Co.

    Reply
  4. Stewart Mack

    Glad to see that the council have at least delayed the decision here, i would guess in no small part to the uproar caused on this very forum – Well done to all who contributed. it still remains an issue until such time as the council finalise matters so please dont let up. Its sad that so many issues such as this continue to crop up, usually led by officials who you would expect to know better but sadly dont. Mr Crossland is of course the Council official that put forward the reduction in gritting then, when the predicted accidents occurred tried to blame it on “unprecidented” weather. Bad weather in Shetland is a way of life, not unprecidented. I fear there will be many more issues before Mr Crossland actually takes heed of local opinion, and prevailing weather conditions.

    Reply
  5. Andrew Morris

    It is appalling that the Council are even thinking of closing down the waiting room at the Viking Bus Station. As Margaret Sinclair has very accurately stated in last week’s article, it is an ideal place for people, especially the elderly, to wait for a bus. Unfortunately the Council have been so keen to squander the money they have had, and now they see their mistake, the only answer is to cut back on everything. As Margaret said, if the Council had been more careful in their spending, this situation would not have arisen. These selfish Councillors should start thinking about the needs of the local community.

    Reply
  6. Harry Dent

    I hope the reprieve is more than temporary.

    “…the market should be tested to see whether the much-valued resource might be taken on by someone outside the SIC” is the sort of gobbledegook public bodies use to let us know we should be grateful they’re hiving off yet another public asset for the private sector to make a profit out of, at our expense.

    The bus station is too important to be sacrificed to “the market”. It should be publicly-owned and publicly-run, not cherry-picked by some privateer interested only in the bottom line.

    Reply
  7. Steve Leask

    I can see the value in the bus station – I really do. That being said I do wonder if the Viking bus station is the answer mainly because of its location. If I were a counselor I would want to look at several other options.

    The first would be a heated waiting room built by the Victoria pier which would (in my opinion) would be better located for those using the town center. This option would also have the knock-on effect of increasing the use of the main street. This option could also be used as a welcome center for cruise traffic and the waiting area for this.

    I also think that the use of Northlink’s ROLO terminal could be an option as a transport interchange. It is there, it is heated and it is plenty big enough. Equally, developing a proper interchange at the Bressey ferry would make proper financial sense. I also think that it would be an option to look at Clickamin as a bus station – the building is there, it is heated and there is space for buses to stop.

    If the council were to close the Viking what would happen to it? Is there scope for developing it or would it turn into another derelict shop and car park?

    Lots of questions… not many answers. Are we surprised?

    Reply

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