Free bus travel could be considered in fare policy review

Free bus travel could be among the options considered following a public transport fare policy review.

Members of the transport partnership ZetTrans have been told of the possible move during their meeting on Friday morning.

It follows a growing interest in public transport fares at both the local and national level in recent months with calls for free fares in the isles to be considered.

Council Members have already voiced a wish to consider public transport fares in relation how alternative policies might improve Shetland’s economic and social picture.

Transport cost is said to be a barrier to people accessing work and services, while the climate emergency requires more people to use sustainable transport for daily journeys.

Responding to questions from Shetland South councillor Robbie McGregor, transport policy officer Robina Barton said free bus travel would be one of the options considered.

However, she added: “We’ve not got to that stage yet.”

She highlighted a questionnaire due to be launched on Monday to gather more information.

“The next stage will be to convene the reference group, set objectives for the review and generate options.”

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison welcomed the report.

“I really do think, if the council are going to be serious about leading the way to influence the direction of travel on climate change we have to have simple steps that will help us along the way.

“I know people will say ‘this is just small beer’ but it’s actually ‘small beer’ that matters.”

Chairman Ryan Thomson said: “We know we have some of the highest costs of living here in Shetland.

“There are those on low incomes, or who live in remote or rural areas, who can’t afford to get from A-B as much as they’d like or need.

“This encompasses a whole raft of different issues that Shetlanders face here.

“We have to remember that we do have pockets of poverty here in Shetland.”


Add Your Comment
  • John M Scott

    • November 28th, 2020 9:40

    With a projected overspend of £225,000 on public transport by Zettrans predicted, could someone please tell me how Shetland Islands Council could actually be considering free bus travel? I understand how the already heavily subsidised fares impact on families with a low income, but there are other ways to make bus travel affordable for the average family. The current deals in place, such as the Top Up Card 20% discount, and the half of the adult fare deal for 5 to 16 year olds, on top of the National Entitlement Card for over 60s , are extremely generous travel schemes already in place. When tourism returns next year, why don’t they introduce a Shetland Tourist/Travel Card, with added discounts on visiting local attractions and food outlets, and also a Summer Only Bus Timetable, with additional services to access remote place like Unst and Yell when they step of the ferry in Lerwick. As they will soon be saying on Unst: “It’s not rocket science!”.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.