D&E Coaches steps in to save highland bus service

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D&E Coaches has stepped in to provide a commercial service between Ullapool and Inverness, the Ross-Shire Journal has reported.

Highland Council says D&E Coaches has agreed to run the bus service from Monday, January 4, 2016. It will replace the current 61 service, which Stagecoach was due to withdraw on Tuesday, December 22.

The new commercial service starts will operate to and from Ullapool and take in Inverness city centre and Raigmore Hospital.

Elizabeth Mathieson from D&E Coaches said: “We have strong links with the Ullapool area, and our vehicles have been seen regularly serving the community there for several years now.

“The travelling public can be assured that we will supply the same reliable, quality service which we have on all our operations throughout the Highlands.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach North Scotland said: “Service 61 operated in conjunction with school service 167.

“Due to losing the Highland Council contract for service 167 it is unfortunately no longer commercially viable for the company to operate service 61. This service will be withdrawn from December 22, 2015.”

Cllr Allan Henderson, who is Chairman of the local authority’s Community Services Committee, paid tribute to both D&E Coaches and Highland Council staff for getting together and finding a solution.

He said: “This is excellent news for Ullapool and the surrounding area.

“I know that there was a lot of dismay when Stagecoach announced they were withdrawing the 61 bus so I would really like to thank D&E Coaches for stepping in and saving this important link between the west coast and the city.

“I am sure will be well used throughout the year both by locals and by visitors to the area. Having good public transport links with our communities plays a vital role in keeping them sustainable.”