Highland Greens have joined Evanton residents in their campaign to oppose proposed reductions in their bus service.
Stagecoach are “consulting” on the proposed changes to the timetables which would see the Evanton to Inverness service halved to hourly, no through service from the north to Dingwall, and a two hourly service only to Inverness on a Sunday from Evanton, with the earliest Sunday bus too late to catch the train south.
According to Stagecoach, the reductions in services to Evanton are necessary to allow for improvements to services to and from Tain, Invergordon and Alness.
Evanton resident and Green election candidate Eleanor Scott said: “The proposed new timetable is extremely concerning and represents a significant loss of service to and from Evanton.
“While I would always support improvements to services in other villages this should not be at the expense of services to Evanton – especially as Evanton does not have a doctor’s surgery, library or pharmacy as the other towns do, nor does it have a railway station. Residents of Evanton need to travel to access essential services and the bus is our only public transport option.”
Dr Scott noted that not only the service to Inverness, but that to Dingwall, is being significantly reduced.
For example, if a youngster in Evanton wants to attend a Ross County home game on a Saturday, he would have to get the 1347 bus from Evanton, arriving in Dingwall at 1402 (the next bus, an hour later, being too late for kick-off). After the match the first bus he could get from Dingwall to Evanton is the 1922, arriving in Evanton at 1938.
Dr Scott said: “To be away from home for 6 hours to attend a 90 minute football match in the next village seems ridiculous. Even if he’d had a pie at half-time our poor youngster is going to be pretty cold and hungry by the time he gets home – and for a 14 year-old driving (or waiting warmly in the pub after the match) isn’t an option.
“This is just one of the many problems with the new timetable. Whether Evanton residents want to travel to Inverness to work, make connections with bus or train services south, or access essential services in Dingwall, they will be significantly worse off with this proposed new timetable.
“At the public meeting tonight (17th Feb) people made it very clear that this reduction in services would hit Evanton hard and is not acceptable.
“Stagecoach claim to be listening – it remains to be seen if they are.”