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Orkney Council to trial late-night bus services on Friday and Saturday nights

low-carbon buses
Stagecoach will operate the buses. Supplied by Orkney Islands Council.

New late night bus services being trialled by Orkney Islands Council until March 2023 will start this Friday, July 1.

The trial is being funded by the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices Smarter Places scheme.

It is hoped the evening services, which will be operated by Stagecoach, will be attractive to people who are having a night at the cinema, a meal out, or visiting family and friends.

Orkney Islands Council building on a sunny day.
Orkney Islands Council is behind the trial.

The timings have been designed to fit in with the closing times of the Pickaquoy Centre, with the authority saying that they have taken on board past feedback from the public.

The services are in addition to late night buses already available on the X1 and X10 timetable and will be split into three services – East Mainland, West Mainland and town and Orphir respectively.

‘Make it easier with current fuel prices’

Transportation manager for Orkney Islands Council, Laura Cromarty said: “Being able to enjoy a night out and then get home safely without needing to drive is something many people have asked for in the past.

“So we’re pleased to have secured some funding through Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding to give these new late night services a trial in the county.

“We hope it will not only help people plan and enjoy more evenings out, it’s also a greener way to travel, it saves having to arrange lifts and is free for under 22s, 60 plus and disabled customers in possession of a valid National Entitlement Card (NEC) or Young Scot Card.

“We also hope it will make it easier with current fuel prices for people to be able to leave their car at home.”

‘We need good levels of demand and usage’

Chairman of the council’s development and infrastructure committee, David Dawson said: “I’d encourage people to look at the timetable for these new services, make use of them throughout this trial and importantly to give our transport team their feedback.

“These services are being trialled for a limited amount of time and we do need good levels of demand and usage from the public to give us the best possible chance of continuing these services after March 2023.”

Orkney Council’s transport team will be reviewing the new routes, along with demand, in early 2023.

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