Inverness Meeting

SAPTs annual Inverness meeting on 2nd November 2023 was well attended by a mix of public transport professionals, enthusiasts and users, some who also use active travel.

Northlink Hamnavoe at Scrabster

Neil Wallace, SAPT Committee member representing the Highlands, gave first hand examples of passenger experiences. Audio and visual ‘Next Stop’ displays were becoming available on new buses as well as on existing trains. Some of the new buses were electric, the majority are on diesel. Services were infrequent outside of Inverness and information sources can be quite unreliable. Examples of electronic displays were shown, some were inconsistent in showing the departure time and destination of the next available train or bus/coach, particularly so during periods of disruption. Car dependency is encouraged by the Go-Hi app which gives optimistic data to show car travel is cheaper and faster than other options.

Stagecoach X99 at Inverness Bus Station

Jon Farr of Highland Council explained work on Bus Service Improvement Partnerships (BSIPs), with examples of ongoing projects from the Inner Moray Firth and Lochaber. These featured new bus gates as well as traffic light priority measures. The latest scheme awaits installation of ANPR barriers to exclude other traffic.

Mallaig Station

Frank Roach, HITRANS Partnership Manager, gave an update on Rail Developments including the installation of Request to Stop technology at some remoter stations. These displays gave more reliable timings compared with existing Customer Information Screens. Longer trains were suggested as a desirable option on strategic services where the scheduled frequency is constrained by passing places on single track lines.

There were opportunities to improve the public realm and connectivity in Inverness by considering the integrated redevelopment of the railway station, bus station and car parks which could free up some of the surrounding area for other uses.

Calmac Lochnevis at Mallaig

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