Free bus services in Inverness shows a 'real demonstration of commitment', says Inverness MSP
Highland councillors and MSPs have reacted to the news of free bus travel being offered across the Inverness area next week.
A link up between Stagecoach and Highland Council will see a week of free travel being offered across the local area from Monday.
MSP for Inverness and Nairn, Fergus Ewing applauded the move, commending the coach operator for its work to overcome a shortage of drivers.
Mr Ewing said: “I commend Stagecoach for this initiative. They have striven hard – very hard – to overcome chronic driver shortage which has caused acute problems to services this year.
"This move is a real demonstration of their commitment to help their customers. Well done."
Instead of paying, passengers will be able to hop on board buses on the Inverness Electric City Bus Network (services 1 to 9) for free.
The free service, which will run until Sunday November 26, covers a range of routes in the Inverness, Nairn, Beauly and Dingwall areas.
- Which routes will offer free bus travel in Inverness next week?
- Free bus travel for all in Inverness next week
Chris Ballantine, Greens councillor for Aird and Loch Ness and depute leader for the City of Inverness area committee hopes that the free week of travel will encourage more residents to use bus services.
He said: "This initiative by Stagecoach is hugely welcome. Since the pandemic, Stagecoach has found it difficult to recruit drivers, and have struggled to provide a decent reliable service.
"They assured me at a meeting two weeks ago that they are now fully staffed, and their services are now over 90 per cent reliable. I think this is by way of an apology for the poor service of the past few years, and I hope it will encourage more people back onto the buses, just at the right time to do their Christmas shopping.
"City centre businesses could not survive without a good bus service. I’m delighted that the council has agreed to match the offer and provide free travel on council buses at the same time.”