Stagecoach North Scotland today (Monday 4th June) released proposals for improvements to the Caithness bus network which is planned to be introduced when schools return in August.
The proposals have been developed using feedback gathered at the public event held in April where customers gave their thoughts on the most important connections to be offered as well as patronage data demonstrating use of the existing services . The plans include revisions to the service between Thurso and Inverness as well as the services in both Thurso and Wick. Thurso town service has been revised to improve connections to Lidl and in Wick connections to Tesco, Wick Retail Park, Martha Terrace Medical Practice and Wick Community Campus have also been improved following customer suggestions at the April meeting.
It is proposed that from 20th August there will be an increase to 4 journeys a day between Thurso and Inverness as service X98 will extend to Caithness providing additional connections to Inverness. Two journeys a day will operate as an X99 and in addition the X99 journey departing Thurso at 0620 (Monday - Saturday) will extend to Raigmore Hospital and Inverness Shopping Park. This revision is based on customer feedback and will provide a direct connection to two key areas of Inverness from the north.
Service 82 will be revised to include Wick Community Campus in the route allowing easy access to the primary school, high school and community facilities. A late night Saturday journey on service 82 has also been introduced in response to customer feedback for those looking to enjoy an evening out in Wick or Thurso.
The route of service 77 will be revised and will terminate at Keiss, the section of route between Keiss and John O Groats is to be withdrawn. Passenger use of this section of route is exceptionally low with an average of less than 3 passengers per journey even when just considering the busiest periods. However, a connection to Wick from John O Groats will still be available as service 80 is timed to meet service X98 in Castletown for one return journey per day. Other connections are available using service 82 changing bus in Thurso. It is no longer feasible to retain connections with the ferry crossings at Gills Bay. Stagecoach is retaining connections with the sailings to and from Orkney at Scrabster which continue to be the most popular with bus passengers.
Daniel Laird, Commercial Director, Stagecoach North Scotland said: "We are grateful for the level of engagement with the local community earlier this year and have used the comments gathered at the event to assist in designing these revisions. We are once again keen to hear views from the local communities in Caithness and Sutherland to ensure we are making the bus an attractive choice for travel before finalising our plans for changes in August. We continue to face a challenging economic environment and our proposals are looking to use our resources in the best way possible to maximise the journey opportunities for where people want to go most regularly. I encourage anyone with an interest in their local bus services to let us know their thoughts on our proposals before Friday 22nd June."
Stagecoach is arranging a series of evening drop-in sessions in Thurso, Wick and Golspie to give people the opportunity to discuss the proposals with the company. These sessions will be held from 4.30 - 8.30pm between 11th and 13th June.
The next Caithness Bus Users Group meeting will also be held on Wednesday 13th June at 1030am in the Norseman Hotel, Wick where there will also be opportunity to comment on the proposals.
Monday 11th June - Pentland Hotel, Thurso - 1630 - 2030
Tuesday 12th June - Norseman Hotel, Wick - 1630 - 2030
Wednesday 13th June - Stags Head Hotel, Golspie - 1630 - 2030
Wednesday 13th June - Caithness Bus Users Group Meeting - Norseman Hotel, Wick - 1030 - 1230
All proposed timetables and route maps are now available at stagecoachbus.com. All feedback is welcomed and should be addressed to email@example.com or sent to Daniel Laird, Commercial Director, CAITHNESS CONSULTATION at Inverness bus station, Farraline Park, Inverness, IV1 1LT. Deadline for feedback to be received is Friday 22nd June 2018.
Consultation Timetables and Maps
Please find links below to view the proposed timetables and route maps
Summary of changes from 20 August 2018
Frequencies quoted refer to the main part of the day Monday to Friday and are shown as a guide.
Scroll table horizontally to view table content
|Service Number||Service Name||Details of Changes|
|73||Thurso – Reay||No change to this service.
[Also see Service 74]
|74, 274||Thurso – Reay – Bettyhill||No change to this service.
[Also see Service 73]
Staxigoe – Papigoe - Wick –
Retail Park – Wick Community Campus
This new service will replace existing Services 77 and 81 within Wick and will provide improved links within Wick to such places as Tesco, Wick Retail Park, Martha Terrace Medical Practice and Wick Community Campus.
|77||Wick – Gills Bay||To reflect the low use being made of this service, it is proposed to operate this service between Wick and Keiss on a reduced timetable Monday to Friday only.
The section of route between Keiss and Gills Bay will not be served. Within Wick, this service will be replaced by new service 76.
|78||Thurso Town Service||
Following customer feedback, this service will be revised.
The section of route to Springpark and Mount Pleasant will be covered by Services 80 and 81.
The section of route to the Pennyland and Ormlie areas will operateas a two way circle so as to provide links in both directions to the Lidl store.
The lightly used section of route to Scrabster will be reduced and covered bysome journeys on service 82.
|80||Thurso – John O’ Groats||The Monday to Friday service will see some minor changes to timetables.
As a result of customer feedback the first bus on a Saturday from Dunnet toThurso will be altered to commence from Mey.
|81, 175||Thurso – Bower – Wick – Dunbeath||
This new service will combine existing Service 81 with part of Service X99 to provide a through service from commuities between Dunbeath and Wick through to Thurso, together with improved links to Tesco in Wick.
The service to the Staxigoe and Willowbank areas of Wick will be replaced by new Service 76.This change will link the north of Wick to the various facilities on the South side of the town.
[Also see Service X99]
|82||Thurso – Wick via Halkirk||
Most buses will be retimed. Within Wick, most buses will serve Wick Community Campus.
[Also see Service 182, 183]
|X82||Scrabster – Thurso – Dunbeath||This service will provide for a morning connection into the Inverness service and an afternoon journey connecting with the mid-afternoon service from Inverness. A small number of additional buses will operate to cover buses operating Service 81.|
|X98, X99||Inverness – Wick – Thurso – Scrabster||
Service X98 will be extended to serve Thurso and between service X98 and X99 four journeys per day will operate to Inverness, Monday to Friday.
The proposed service allows for additional travel opportunities from Sutherland into Caithness in the morning and from Caithness to Sutherland in the late afternoon. This will meet the aspirations of many customers in Sutherland who wish to access to facilities at Caithness General Hospital in Wick.
The 0620 from Thurso will extend to Raigmore Hospital and Inverness Shopping Park. The 1345 from Inverness to Thurso will start from Inverness Shopping Park and will serve Raigmore Hospital before departing Inverness Bus Station.
The first bus southbound bus to Inverness will leave earlier to provide better onward coach connections to Central Scotland.
|175||Wick High School – Berriedale||No alteration to this service.
[Also see Services 81 and X99]
|176||Staxigoe – Noss School||No alteration to this service.
[Also see Service 82]
|183||Thurso – Halkirk Circular||No alteration to this service.
[Also see Service 82]
|184||Thurso – Gillock Circular||No alteration to this service.
[Also see Service 82]
|273 - 283||Dounreay services||Minor timetable changes to be confirmed.|