Concerns over state of Fort William Bus Station

FORT WILLIAM BUS STATION 11/7/19 Picture Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

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From malfunctioning timetable screens to dirty benches, concerns have been raised by local bus users over the state of Fort William Bus Station.

Members of Lochaber Transport Forum were unhappy with the current condition of the equipment and the general tidiness of the area after a recent visit to the station.

Forum secretary Benny MacDonald said the group has raised issues about the bus station over several years, both directly and when responding to concerns raised at meetings.

He said: ‘While some cleaning work is done, more regular upkeep of the station would make it more comfortable for the many passengers using it.    The forum also check timetables and the real time electronic sign regularly in an effort to keep information up to date.

‘The bus station is a very busy hub; it’s used by locals and many visitors so it’s important to have the relevant signage and correct information easily available.’

Peter Knight, operations director at Citylink, who also attended a recent visit with forum members to the station, feels more could be done to improve the station’s facilities.

‘Our services operate in and out of many bus stations and interchanges across Scotland and we are aware that some have better facilities than others,’ he said. ‘We believe improvements could be made to the bus station in Fort William to help attract more people to bus and coach travel, and this is something that we are keen to address with Highland Council which manages the facility.’

However, Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) told the Lochaber Times they are working on improving the upkeep of the station.

Neil MacRae, partnership manager at HITRANS, who supplies printed timetable display notices and operate and maintain the electronic displays, said that the partnership has been in regular correspondence with the Lochaber Transport Forum and are aware of their concerns about the facilities at Fort William Bus Station.

‘The sign in the bus station was recently fixed following a report of a fault by the Transport Forum,’ said Mr MacRae. ‘We are currently in the process of procuring a new real-time information contract and expect this to be in place by the end of this year at which point we will be in a position to see what improvements may be made with regard to the electronic displays.

Highland Council, who maintains the shelter and the seating, said the area is cleaned regularly.

A council spokesman said: ‘All bus shelters in the Highland area are cleaned by our contractor on a 12-week cycle. Fort William (including the bus station) is on the schedule for cleaning in the first week in August.’