· Improved reliability across Inverness City
· New service 11U connecting Nairn direct to Inverness College
· Connection introduced between Ardersier and Culloden
· Improved service for Culloden
· Better connections between Hilton and Raigmore Hospital and Inverness College
From Monday, 9th January bus passengers in the Highlands will see changes to improve their bus services.
The upcoming service revisions are being introduced to improve Stagecoach connections across Inverness city as well as connections to surrounding towns.
An extensive review of the existing bus network was carried out with a focus on improving punctuality and reliability as well as trying to better cater for customer travel habits on the routes - particularly during the busy morning and afternoon peak periods.
Stagecoach released proposals to the public in November welcoming feedback on the draft timetables. Over 200 responses were received during the consultation period with many praising the improvements being planned for the network within Inverness city centre.
Stagecoach have reviewed all the feedback and used this to make a number of revisions to the proposals which include -
· Miller Street and Boswell Road continuing to be served by service 4 in Inverness
· North morning connection from Inverness has been identified to Helmsdale to replace the withdrawal of the 0930 X99 journey
· Culbokie continuing to see Service 25X journeys divert into the village at peak times
· Connection from Thurso to Dunbeath maintained through the introduction of new Service X82
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director for Stagecoach North Scotland said: "Our overall aim is to provide a better, more efficient and more reliable package of services to our customers. The changes we are making to our bus network in the Highlands better reflect the travel habits of our customers, providing better connections within Inverness, to Inverness as well as between other towns and villages across the Highlands. Introducing the public consultation ahead of the formal registration process has built on the insight we gain when working with various community councils and bus user groups within the Highlands area.”
Mark Whitelocks added that “Passengers can also now use the free Stagecoach app to track their bus in real time or buy their ticket so there really hasn't ever been a better time to try bus travel in the Highlands."
From the 9th January residents in Nairn will see the introduction of a direct link to Inverness College on the brand new service 11U. The service will operate in the morning and evening peaks and will mean that customers will not need to travel into the city centre to get to the busy college campus.
Within Inverness city the bus network has been completely refreshed. Service 1 will provide new extensions to Raigmore Hospital and UHI every hour. Residents in the Holm Park area will see an improved frequency to the city centre using service 6.
Service 8 within Inverness will be replaced by services 2 and 3 maintaining a 20 minute frequency across the city with areas such as Craig Dunain, Westhill, Raigmore and UHI will have a 10 minute frequency. Residents in the Culloden area of Inverness will see an improved frequency with all buses from Westhill being extended to serve the area on the all new services 2 and 3.
Service 15 will be withdrawn from 9th January however residents in Ardersier will welcome a bus connection on the new service 5A which will connect their town with Culloden as well as the city centre.
Service X99 will operate to a new route with all journeys serving Castletown between Thurso and Wick before continuing south to Helmsdale, Dunbeath, Tain and Inverness. The alteration to the route will give a direct connection on service X99 for passengers from Castletown and Wick who would have previously had to connect at Dunbeath to use the service to Inverness.
Ahead of the service change, Stagecoach will be running some information events to distribute the new timetables and answer any queries on the new network.
Inglis Street, Inverness from 1000 - 1600
Helmsdale Car Park near La Mirage from 0930 - 1030
Brora, Gower Street Car Park near Coop from 1100 - 1200
Golspie Car Park at rear of Coop from 1230 - 1330
Dornoch, The Square from 1430 - 1530
Customers who are unable to attend these events can continue to contact the company by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01463 251350
All timetables from 9th January are now available here, and will be on buses and at Stagecoach offices by 20th December.