Thank you to the residents that have contacted me about Stagecoach weekday timetable changes on route 44 that will have a big effect on those using the service to get to and from work. I’ve made an additional response to their consultation to highlight these issues, as follows:
Further to my previous correspondence, I wish to make a further response to your proposed timetable changes for route 44 between Fort William and Kinlochleven.
Residents have now approached me about changes to the weekday service on this route and how this will affect those reliant on using the bus to get to and from work. In particular, there are concerns about the following:
· The restriction of the 08.00 bus from Fort William to operate during school term only. Whereas, it currently operates all year round. This will make it difficult for people to get to work outside school time.
· The loss of the 18.07 service from Fort William will make it difficult for people to return home from work. Even though you have proposed a new 17.35 service this leaves little time for those working in the retail sector, where shops close at 17.30, to catch a bus. Retail workers are seldom able to walk straight out the door at closing time. They are then faced with a wait to 20.35 before heading home. A three-hour wait for a bus after shop closing is unacceptable.
If you are seeking route savings, may I suggest that it would be appropriate to consider removal of the 1140 and 1442 service from Kinlochleven to Fort William, along with the corresponding 1032 and 1342 service from Fort William? I understand these are less well-used buses and the 1140 service frequently runs empty from Kinlochleven. This change may mean people must rearrange their personal timetable during the day. However, if this means the services above, as well as the Sunday service, can be retained there could be widespread community support for such a change,
Finally, I am concerned to hear from residents that drivers employed by Stagecoach have been warned that if they sign my petition they will be sacked. Such intimidation of staff is deplorable and I seek reassurance that no such threat has been made by managers and that drivers are free to sign the petition without any fear of action being taken against them by the company.