Transport officials are scrabbling to maintain bus services after a number of operators handed their contracts back.
The ZetTrans committee today (Wednesday) heard the contract issues were “ongoing” and could hit the £3.4m service with extra costs.
Chairwoman Moraig Lyall said staff were “working hard, paddling beneath the water, to ensure these services are all kept afloat and continue seamlessly”.
“It’s an area to keep an eye on but not a major concern, as far as I’m aware,” she said.
Shetland South councillor Robbie McGregor expressed “concern and sympathy” with the operators.
A number of services needed to be retendered in August when Graham Robinson, of Robinson Transport retired.
Mr Robinson agreed to continue operating one of the school services, as the SIC was struggling to find another operator to take it on.
The public services all found new operators – but there have since been others handed back.
It is understood a driver shortage means some operators are reluctant to continue running the services they have held previously.
Speaking earlier this week, Mrs Lyall acknowledged there was an issue with a driver availability.
“I’m aware of a number of operators who say finding an adequate number of drivers is not easy,” she told The Shetland Times.
“Obviously that does have an impact on their ability to keep the same number of contracts going.”
Mrs Lyall said there had been a number of issues behind their decision, including the increase in fuel prices, but that driver availability was the main current concern.
“Staff in the transport department are working really hard to get all the different contracts retendered and keep all the services going as they currently are.
“As far as I’m aware, the ones which have been retendered have all found new operators to take them on.
“But then that has been followed by another few coming back – so it’s an ongoing situation.
“I think the department are still hopeful that they will be able to keep the network running in its current form.
“Whether that’s the same in the future I don’t know, but at the moment I think they are reasonably optimistic.”
The SIC tendered for school bus services in July but posted a notice last week to retender two of the contracts, which are due to take effect in December.