Bus driver hits out at airport parking

A bus driver has lashed out at “selfish” parking at the Sumburgh Airport – saying that bus drivers are being forced to carry out dangerous manoeuvres because of blocked access.

Weisdale man Robbie Leask, who drives the number six bus to Sumburgh, said poor parking had become a persistent problem during school holidays with travellers who are unable to find a designated spot simply leaving their cars on the road.

In the first week of the October holidays the car park became so congested that buses were unable to follow their normal path through the airport.

Instead the drivers were forced to undertake dangerous reversing manoeuvres in the vicinity of pedestrians in order to exit the airport concourse after dropping off or picking up passengers from the bus stop.

Mr Leask said: “When the cars are parked like this we have to reverse back into the short stay car park which is a bit tight sometimes.”

He said that the situation was “very, very dangerous from a bus driver’s point of view”, in particular with “excited bairns running about” before their holidays.

Mr Leask’s comments come a week after a report in this newspaper detailed how drivers were regularly using the Lerwick bus station as a car park when picking up takeaways from nearby eateries.

On that occasion bus driver Graham Longstaff said Shetland’s driving standards were the worst he had “ever encountered” and again this week Mr Leask has criticised the quality of driving in the isles.

He said: “Them that’s parked there are so selfish. If that’s their parking how’s their driving?”

Mr Leask labelled the Sumburgh Airport car park “not fit for purpose” and said Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) should review the situation and look for solutions.

Meanwhile, Peter Leask, of the bus firm John Leask & Son, said that he had contacted Hial to alert them to the situation and had received an emailed response saying that they were aware of the problem.

Although he was aware that the congestion had now eased he described the situation last week as “a complete farce quite honestly”.

Peter Leask also said that he knew of at least one case where someone had got off the plane only to find that their car was blocked in, forcing them to find alternative transport home.

A statement, sent out by Hial’s public relations firm 3×1 and attributed simply to a “Hial spokesperson”, read: “Due to an increased number of passengers over the October holiday period, the car park at Sumburgh Airport did reach full capacity on a number of occasions. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused during that period.

“The airport team did issue a number of requests for drivers to be responsible when parking and, where possible, to consider car sharing or using the drop-off area.

“Parking at the airport is monitored closely throughout the year and we will be reviewing the position, and the steps taken last week to improve the situation, to see if there are any further improvements we can make ahead of the peak holiday periods.”


Add Your Comment
  • Ian McCormack

    • October 21st, 2017 18:29

    Working on the buses, you see a lot of things. On the whole most people think before they park up, or they think before they pull out right in front of a bus driver. But there are those who think their cars can get away fast, and pull out in front of a moving bus only to discover their cars are just not fast enough. This puts the lives of my passengers at risk because I have to break, sometimes suddenly, and then the passengers get annoyed with the bus drivers.
    Even tonight (Saturday 21st October) I personally asked 2 car drivers at 5pm to move their cars to the car-park just so that my colleagues could get their buses into the bus station. This is also a problem at bus stops. Bus stops are simply not parking places.
    Down south this would simply not be allowed, there would be fines, or at the very most have their cars towed away, and maybe this is the answer.
    The “I will only be 2 minutes” mentality of SOME drivers is simply selfish. Dont be lazy, find a proper parking space and stay out of the Bus station

  • Louise Beaton

    • October 24th, 2017 14:46

    I’ve been following the recent car parking issues at Sumburgh Airport with interest. Ian is right, there would be hefty fines and clamps for cars abandoned in non-designated areas on the mainland. In Aberdeen we have to pay £2 to drop off or pick up passengers from the airport (within a 15 minute time period), let alone park… When we come up to Shetland for a long weekend we’re around £22 to park at long stay car park – and that is very competitive. You’re very lucky in Shetland not having to pay – though I suspect that may be a solution to some of the recent problems (albeit an unpopular one)!


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