Council cut to public transport agreed

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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar members have voted to take forward an option to cut public transport.

Operators had been asked to tender for nine transport options, a number of which were left to them to redesign.

The outcome of this process identified five options which were subject to a process of Community Conversation and online consultation.

The outcomes of these Conversations were subject to Equality and Fairer Scotland Assessments which were informed by the outcome of the consultation process.

At this week’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Comhairle, sympathetic to the views of communities, opted for option four, which provided the minimal reduction in services whilst approving an increase in the Community Transport Fund in order to allow capacity for bespoke solutions for areas of particular need.

The move is likely to save the Comhairle in the region of £1.3m.

Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said: “The Comhairle has been listening to our communities over recent months and has chosen an option which we believe will best address the communities’ transport needs whilst also realising the necessary savings.

“Through the Community Transport Fund, we will continue working with communities to ensure bespoke solutions for those areas with greatest needs.

“Community Conversations will continue to ascertain the main priorities for services whilst meeting the financial targets the Comhairle has agreed.”

It is unclear at this time if the decision to go for option four will result in job losses, a spokesman for the Comhairle commented: “On the question of redundancies we cannot say. It will depend on the successful tenderers and how they manage operations. The Comhairle’s policy is to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.”