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People hit by Contin bus service changes urged to speak out


By Louise Glen


Changes to the Contin bus servicelinking the village to Strathpeffer, Dingwall and Inverness have already had a significant impact, the community council says.
Picture: James MacKenzie
Changes to the Contin bus servicelinking the village to Strathpeffer, Dingwall and Inverness have already had a significant impact, the community council says. Picture: James MacKenzie

PEOPLE who have lost employment due to a changes in a lifeline bus service are being asked to speak out.

Contin Community Council wants to speak to former employees in a bid to raise concerns at the highest levels about the shelving of services to the village.

In February, changes to the bus timetable meant the morning and afternoon service to the village were cut, leaving some people having to give up jobs.

Community councillor Norma Ross said the axing of the service is not the end of the local campaign.

She said: "We might have lost the bus for now, but that does not stop us looking at either new ways to get people moving around the area, or campaigning to have the bus re-instated."

Mrs Ross said she had this week been alerted to a 2.5-mile walk that some nursery pupils now have to make to get to school.

A post on the Contin Community Council web page is encouraging people who have lost their job to write on Stagecoach's official web page. One man, Gordon C Harrison posted on the Stagecoach Inverness page: "You could reinstate the Contin bus service.

"You reduced it to two buses a day and people are losing jobs, businesses are affected, losing employees, people can't get to the surgery, elderly people need to spend all day in Dingwall or Inverness because there is only one bus at the start if the day and another around 5pm.

"This is not a service, you should be ashamed to call it that. When are you going to re-instate the service? My MSP raised the issue with your company at at the time of the community's meeting with her and your company had not even had the courtesy to respond to her. Shame on you."

A letter sent to Contin Community Council from Stagecoach said the changes were due to financial reasons and a lack of passengers on the route.

However, a complaint about the length of the consultation undertaken with Contin residents is being investigated by the Public Transport Ombudsman. In a letter to Contin Community Council, it stated: "The rules regarding registration of local bus services was amended with effect from January 2016 to allow for an extended consultation period prior to submission to the Traffic Commissioner.

"The period of pre registration was increased from 14 days to 28 days and was intended to offer the relevant transport/local authorities the opportunity to better manage the effects of planned bus service changes, new services and withdrawal of services on the transport network with the ultimate aim of providing greater certainty and information to bus users and potential new users."

It said it will now write to Stagecoach and Highland Council to seek views on the consultation process.



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