Councillors back just one bus contract in-house

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar look set to retain only one bus contract in-house as they move towards tendering of bus service contracts for Lewis and Harris to start in April next year.

Last week’s meeting of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agreed to retain the Tolsta/Back/Stornoway and Point to Stornoway routes in-house but at tonight’s (Thursday) full council meeting, an amendment by Cllr Kenny Macleod proposed just one route was kept.

Councillors supported the amendment which will mean one of the routes is likely to be put out to competitive tender.

This was the situation in the 2009 tendering exercise when the Tolsta/Back/Stornoway service was retained in-house while the Point/Stornoway route was tendered and subsequently awarded to Bus na Comhairle.

Several councillors called for all bus contracts to be put out to competitive tender.

The Comhairle only operates 19% of the total bus contracts at present and retaining an in-house service is used as a benchmark for best value to ensure prices are competitive.