A pioneering phone app making it easier to plan, book and pay for travel in the Highlands and islands is being extended with additional Scottish Government funding.
The region is leading the way in Scotland after launching the GO-HI app in June.
It provides instant access to information on buses, trains, taxis, car hire, car clubs, bicycle hire, air travel and ferries.
It allows users to plan their journeys for all modes of transport on any iPhone or Android mobile device.
The one-stop app also helps travellers make greater use of public transport, car sharing and cycling.
Minister backs travel app project
In addition, it provides information on locations for food and drink, cash machines and electric vehicle charging points.
Regional transport partnership Hitrans has now secured £408,772 from round two of Transport Scotland’s Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Investment Fund to expand GO-HI.
This is on top of the £445,170 received in round one.
The initial six-month pilot project is now being extended for two years.
Transport minister Graeme Dey tried out the travel app during a visit to Elgin where he met project partners.
He said: “It’s a great example of the Scottish Government working in partnership with local communities and private enterprise to develop the digital technology that allows the joining up of many transport modes, providing a one-stop transport shop for residents and visitors alike.
“I look forward to seeing how the second phase of the pilot develops to meet customer requirements and test the concept of MaaS in Scotland to support modal shift.”
Hitrans chairman Councillor Allan Henderson sees the new funding as a significant vote of confidence in the project.
Improving access to travel information and easing payment
He said: “This is great news for our large rural and remote region.
“The project will ensure we remain in the vanguard of innovation and the digitalisation of transport information.
“Actions within the project will hugely improve accessibility of travel information and ease of payment for multiple modes of travel.”
GO-HI has been developed by Hitrans with technology firm Fleetondemand using the MaaS platform.
It aims to provide people with easy access to travel information and encourage a shift to public transport and active travel alternatives.
This is great news for our large rural and remote region”
Hitrans chairman Allan Henderson
New transport partners have now joined the scheme, adding to car, bike, bus, rail, air and ferry firms.
A partnership with the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project is also helping the introduction of the Inverness ebike dock system and MaaS programme marketing.
GO-HI partner Enterprise Car Club has also increased availability of vehicles at new locations in Scrabster, Fort William, Aviemore, Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree.