15th October 2018
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Call for return journeys for Bressay residents visiting Lerwick GPs

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A shortfall in transport provision in Bressay is causing headaches for people trying to reach medical appointments in the town.

A petition with 70 signatures is being sent to the council in the hope a taxi service operating there can be extended.

Currently a taxi takes passengers to the ferry on two daily trips – one at 9.30am and the other an hour later.

The service was introduced after the withdrawal of the Post Bus service some time ago.

However the lack of any further runs has left passengers effectively stranded in the town and struggling to get back home.

The problem was highlighted at this week’s meeting of the SIC’s transport partnership, ZetTrans.

Bressay councillor Caroline Miller said small changes needed to be made to help make life easier for residents in the island.

She said she had faced mounting pressure for a “dial-a-ride” service to be introduced.

The petition has been organised by Kathy O’Sullivan, a district nurse on the island who wants to see an additional taxi service run later in the day.

She insists she is raising the matter merely as a concerned resident, but says many people have reported problems in getting back from the hospital or health centre.

As well as the taxi, a “shopper bus” is available on Mondays and Saturdays to drop people off at various points in the town.

However that only makes a return journey later in the afternoon, meaning patients depending on it could face a wait of several hours.

“This is really about transport in Bressay, which is null and void,” she said.

“Really all I am asking for is if the taxi could make a return journey at 12pm or 1pm.

“A shopper bus is used but it’s no good for the frail or elderly – people who have to go over to the hospital and have to wait there for three to four hours for a bus to come back. It’s too long a day.”

Meanwhile, NHS Shetland’s director of public health, Dr Sarah Taylor, said Shetland needed to have a more integrated transport system.

She said a doctor visiting Papa Stour had had to “stay all day, even if she is just seeing one or two people”.

“It’s disappointing we haven’t seen changes to the level of integration between different transport modes,” she added.

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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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