Monday, 8 August 2011

Changes to bus services in Mid Argyll and Kintyre

Changes to three bus services in Mid Argyll and Kintyre will come into force from Monday 15 August 2011. The 421 service from Inverliever to Tarbert, the 449 service from Campbeltown to Lochgilphead and the 422 service between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead are all affected.

The 421 service will now run between Inverliever and Kilmaluaig, South of Ormsary. The experimental extension to Kilberry and Tarbert is being withdrawn. The timetable will go back to what it was before the extension was introduced. As a result the 447 service will now run between Tarbert and Kilberry (Coulaghailtro) on schooldays at school times and will operate to its previous timetable.

The extended route stopped at Port Ban Caravan Park and Kilberry which means there’ll now be no direct link between these places and Lochgilphead. This route has been changed because after an initial increase in the number of passengers they are now down twenty percent. Ending the extension and going back to previous timetables will save £17,080 a year.

The 449 ‘commuter coach’ from Campbeltown to Lochgilphead which ran Monday to Friday leaving at 0730 and returning at 1705 will stop. People will be able to use the Scottish Citylink coach which leaves Campbeltown at 0630 and 0830 and returns from Lochgilphead at 1629. On schooldays there is also a bus leaving Campbeltown at 0725 and returning from Lochgilphead at 1500. Scottish Citylink has agreed to introduce season ticket rates on the 926 service which offers regular travellers a saving on the normal fare. Removing the commuter service will mean a saving of £46,148.32.

The total annual saving being made from these changes will be £63, 228.52.

These services don’t operate on a commercial basis and need a high level of council support to keep them going. They were originally funded with a special ring-fenced grant provided by the Scottish Government but this doesn’t exist anymore.

Transport Spokesperson, Councillor Duncan MacIntyre said “I’m sorry these services have been reduced and changed. There were some difficult decisions to make on how to make savings on public transport in Argyll and Bute. I’d encourage people to look at the council’s website to make a note of the changes.”

After the School and Public Transport Review and savings agreed by the council in February 2011 the transport budgets were reduced from £726,035 to £275,000. The decision on which council supported bus services would no longer be funded was made by the council’s Executive in April.

Timetables at bus stop information panels on the council’s website, , will be updated as soon as possible. Up to date information is also available from Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

In a separate development West Coast Motors have told the council they will be reducing the frequency of the 422 service between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead. It will now be hourly instead of half hourly.