Bus talks could improve service

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Mull could be on the road to improved bus services.

Representatives from West Coast Motors met online with the island’s community council last week.

The lack of Sunday service and early bus service from the Ross of Mull to Craignuire in time for the 8.40am ferry to Oban were on the table for discussion.

No early morning bus means people cannot attend hospital appointments on the mainland any earlier than lunchtime, the meeting heard.

Also no buses on Sunday makes it difficult for students to come home for the weekends unless they can be sure of a lift back to Craignure.

The meeting heard about one elderly man whose wife was airlifted to hospital on a Sunday but he could not get a bus for a ferry to see her.

‘We are the only island on the West Coast that doesn’t have a Sunday bus service,’ she said.

‘I don’t think anyone in the community council would disagree this is really penalising people in the Ross of Mull,’ said Councillor Devon, who asked if a subsidy from Argyll and Bute Council could help.

A national shortage of bus drivers is part of the problem the meeting was told.

Councillor Devon added: ‘We have to look at a way forward. we have to sit down and find a way – even if it is a small token.’

Young people at Salen waiting for the bus to school are getting drenched, sitting soaked through before they get to class. ‘We are going to look at a suitable place where the bus could stop and there could be a shelter put up for them,’ said Councillor Devon.

Plans are also afoot to let ferry passengers know there will not always be a bus meeting every boat at Craignuire. Letters have been received by the community council from visitors surprised by this.

A notice is also going to go up urging  people wanting the 5.15pm bus to Tobermory to wait at the bus shelter opposite until it arrives.

The bus coming from Tobermory has to travel to Lochbuie road end to drop off a small number of children before returning to Craignure for the return trip, picking up passengers from the 3.55pm Oban boat. In winter that bus service is shared with the school run. There was talk of seeing if the council contract car that meets the bus to take the children down to Lochbuie could pick them up at Craignure instead, which means people wanting the bus back to Tobermory would not have to wait so long.