MSP asks people to take part in events on bus service changes

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan is encouraging Islanders to take part in the Community Conversation events being run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar this week regarding a planned redesign of bus services.

Mr Allan has also written to the Comhairle to raise the concerns people have expressed to him about the short time people have been given in which to give their views – today (Tuesday).

The MSP is concerned that the majority of options being offered by the Comhairle will have severe consequences for those who live outside Stornoway, such as no evening service after 6pm, restricted workers’ buses in the morning and a minimal daytime service.

Mr Allan said: “It is really important that people make their voices heard on their need for a good bus service, especially as the Comhairle has given people less than a week to respond.”

“Only one of the options being presented retains evening services which will have a major impact on those who live outside Stornoway both in terms of access to work as well as socially. The paring down of services during the day will also impact some of the most vulnerable in society.

“I urge everyone to make their views known to the Comhairle as soon as possible. I also urge the Comhairle to consider lengthening the consultation period to allow people an adequate amount of time to respond, as less than a week to respond on changes of this magnitude really isn’t enough.”

Comhairle Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay, said: “The public have been engaging with the Community Conversations throughout the Western Isles over the last few months and have had the opportunity to feed their views into the process. As a result of the initial Community Conversations held in November and December, there was a clear message that bus services in Lewis & Harris was an area which required some redesign.

“This week’s meetings, specifically on public transport, are a continuation of that process and an another opportunity for the public to have their views heard.

“Our MSP would do well to remember that there are knock-on effects of the cuts in Scottish Government funding to Local Government and seek to secure a better settlement for the Comhairle.”

Community Conversation events take place will take place tonight (Tuesday, June 25) at the Nicolson Institute discussing Point, Back and Stornoway bus services from 6 to 7.30pm; at Lochs School from 6 to 7.30pm to discuss bus services for North Lochs, Kinloch, Carloway and Breasclete and at Uig School from 8 to 9.30pm to discuss Uig and Bernera bus services.