Bus services to rural areas to be revamped

Improvements to the way Shetland’s bus services are run could soon be introduced amid concerns passengers in rural areas are facing a shortfall in transport links.

Members of the transport partnership ZetTrans heard on Monday that passengers currently meet with a duplication in services in some areas while other places are left entirely uncatered for.

The changes, outlined in a report by transport strategy officer Emma Perring, will aim to address those anomalies by developing mainline services along the main, or “spine” roads of Shetland, with feeder services branching off to the more outlying areas.

Under the proposals, buses to the West Side will run more regularly, but will terminate at Bixter where feeder services to outlying areas in Walls, Skeld, Aith and Sandness will operate.

Meanwhile buses heading to the North Mainland will also be more frequent, with several hubs allowing passengers to take feeder buses to the different areas.

Details of the services between Lerwick and Scalloway have yet to be finalised – as have plans for the North Isles – however partnership members heard further details would be available nearer the change.

A meeting of minds between the transport service and schools could also lead to shared public and school transport for secondary pupils.

Chairman of the transport authority Allan Wishart told committee members services could be amalgamated in future at little extra cost.

“The total provision of bus services costs three and a half million pounds to the council. There are already quite a lot of funds going into it, but it’s just a question of using these funds more appropriately.”

The plans are also due to go before the council’s infrastructure committee later this month.

For full story, see this Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.


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