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Hebrides News


Council to underwrite extra bus on Ullapool ferry route

22 May 2017

Western Isles Council will pay Scottish Citylink to lay on an extra bus at short notice in a bid to avoid Stornoway ferry passengers being stranded on the mainland.

However, the additional coach is not guaranteed and travellers are urged to book well in advance.


Islanders regularly complain about being left behind on the operator’s Inverness to Ullapool service which meets the ferry.

Numerous foot passengers have been caught out just turning up without a ticket on the twice daily service.


In addition, pre-booking in good time is often a necessity to prevent travellers having their journey plans disrupted.


Years ago, Citylink -  which does not get a subsidy for the service -  stopped its practice of having another vehicle on standby just in case the first one was full.

Citylink was making a loss on calling in an additional bus and driver especially for often just a handful of people.


However, the firm does aim to provide an additional coach if all seats are reserved more than 48 hours before departure.

It also puts an extra bus on the route every Friday, Saturday and Monday over the summer.

The strong message is for passengers to pre-book in plenty of time.

The Comhairle and regional transport authority, Hitrans, will underwrite Citylink’s operational losses for providing the additional coach.  


Uisdean Robertson, chair of the Comhairle’s transportation committee emphasised the additional capacity “cannot in any way be completely guaranteed”.


There is a “very real imperative” for all passengers to book as far in advance as possible of when they intend to travel from either Inverness or Ullapool”.