Shetland Islands Council expects that the Viking Bus Station will be sold early next year and that bus shelters will be erected as part of the new arrangements at the station.
A statement from the council says that “transitional arrangements are being put in place to cover the next few months” and that “sale of the buildings will be concluded early in 2014”.
Buildings and Transport acting executive manager Carl Symons would not confirm who the bus station will be sold to because he would not comment on a commercial matter.
He added that cantilever shelters similar to those opposite Bolts would be put up at the station to give passengers shelter should they choose not to use the facilities offered by the new owners.
In effect, passengers will be able to wait in a proposed new cafe at the bus station, which Mr Symons said would likely lead to increased “footfall” in the building. But he could not confirm whether passengers would be expected to make a purchase if using the cafe.
He added: “People may not want to use any facilities provided by a private owner. My own personal view is that people will use the private owner’s slightly changed format for the waiting area.
“The council’s position is that we are being prudent and sensible and making sure that people’s use of the bus station is not impinged in any way.”
The shelters would only be built once the sale of the bus station is confirmed, he added.
The bus station, rural freight centre and toilet facilities will be closed from 5.30pm on Tuesday 31st December until 8.30am on Monday 6th January.
From then on the freight centre’s revised opening hours will be: Monday, 8.30am – 5.30pm; Tuesday, 8.30am – 5.30pm; Wednesday,10.30am – 12pm; Thursday, 8.30am – 5.30pm; Friday,10.30am – 12pm. The freight centre will be closed at the weekend and Wednesday and Friday openings will be weather dependant, “if a gritting service is being provided, opening hours may be curtailed due to council driver requirements. Customers who use bus services for freight will need to deliver any items for transport to the appropriate bus directly,” the statement adds.
During the transitional period of sale the bus station waiting room and toilet facilities will be open as follows: Monday 8.30am – 5.30pm; Tuesday 8.30am – 5.30pm; Wednesday 8.30am – 5.30pm; Thursday 8.30am – 5.30pm: Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm; Saturday 8.30am – 5.30pm.
They will be closed on Sunday and “operate on a partly staffed basis” on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.