Highland Council Announces Pioneering New Dial-A-Bus Service for Communities in Nairnshire

Pictured: (Left to right) Highland Council’s Senior Transport Officer Ali MacDonald and Wheels in Nairnshire Dial-a-Bus Manager, Jon Wartnaby

Highland Council has announced a pioneering new Dial-A-Bus service for communities in Nairnshire.

Wheels in Nairnshire (WiN) and Highland Council’s Transport Co-ordination Unit have worked in partnership to create a visionary project to deliver demand responsive transport to Nairnshire communities, with the reintroduction of the Dial-a-Bus service to the area.

The Highland Council is understood to be one of the first local authorities in the UK to have a fully electric, wheelchair accessible vehicle MPV (Nissan e-NV200) which will be used by WiN to deliver the service.

At the same time, the project represents a significant cost saving to the Council in the delivery of the Dial-a-Bus contract, when compared to the traditional public service contract.

The project includes the trialling of a Pay What You Can (PWYC) fare structure, which means that an inability to pay a fare is no barrier to transport.

Chair of the Nairnshire Area Committee, Cllr Tom Heggie, said:

“This is a unique and innovative plan that encourages usage based on need rather than ability to pay.

“It also gives those who are able the opportunity to contribute more significantly to the lifeline service.”

Highland Council’s Senior Transport Officer Ali MacDonald said:

“Our team are constantly looking at alternative approaches to transport provision, recognising that traditional public transport delivery may not always be the best way to address the unique needs of a particular community.

“With this approach, we are facilitating a valuable service, and also involving communities directly in transport solutions.

“We are thrilled that WiN have taken the reins of this project, and that we can help them along the way.”

Wheels in Nairnshire Dial-a-Bus Manager, Jon Wartnaby said:

“It’s really great that Wheels in Nairnshire have been able to get this much needed and missed service back up and running again in conjunction with The Highland Council.

“In the short time we have been running the Dial-a-Bus in Nairnshire we have helped people get to medical appointments, do their shopping and meet up with friends and family they haven’t seen in a long time.

“Every week we are getting busier and busier with new customers trying out the service.

“If you think you would like to give Dial-a-Bus or our volunteer car scheme a try, call us on 07716 214777 to book.”

WiN have been operating the service since 5 July, with a full launch of the dedicated vehicle to commence from 13 September 21.

The Nairnshire Dial-a-Bus is available Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.