Members of The Highland Council’s Redesign Board were given a progress report on plans for the Council to launch its in-house bus company on 4 January 2023.
The Council has invested in 12 buses, including 6 double deckers to deliver passenger and school transport services at a lower cost than commercial contractors.
The other project, which is also part of the Council’s Business Change programme, is to carry out a review of school transport arrangements, including the procurement of specialist transport management software.
Chair of the Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said:
“Our ambitious in-house bus company will mitigate some of the significant cost increases following the recent re-tendering of passenger and school transport contracts.
“It will also allow us the flexibility for an improved and more inclusive service.
“The new service will be supported by specialist transport management software.
“This will not only help us streamline the expansion of our bus services, but it will ensure every possible efficiency saving is made.
“It was good to get the update today to confirm real progress is being made and I for one cannot wait to see the new buses out on the routes in January.”
The Redesign Board heard that a Project team has been established with three Project Officers and a Bus Operations Supervisor appointed.
Interviews for Drivers are ongoing.
Approval has been granted for lease of ground for an operational centre.
The pilot bus services have been registered and approved by the Traffic Commissioner.
The update today also highlighted that although there was not enough time for the use of electric buses to be fully explored, officers intend to submit a bid next spring to Transport Scotland’s Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund.