Bus firm Stagecoach could lay on additional services to meet demand for improved links to and from Raigmore Hospital on the east side of Inverness.
Campaigners are optimistic following fresh talks with the company aimed at securing a timetable better suited to hospital appointment and visiting times.
Smithton resident David McGrath and local SNP councillor Glynis Sinclair were heartened by the discussions with Stagecoach’s north Scotland managing director Steve Walker, who suggested there could be scope as part of transport demand relating to the expanding university campus.
Mr Walker said: “We’re currently working with David and Glynis to draft some proposals that we would then be more than happy to take back to the community to ask which they would prefer.”
People living in heavily populated areas of Smithton and Culloden are angry that a 20-minute bus service they previously enjoyed was reduced.
There has been frustration that the area does not enjoy the same frequency of buses as neighbouring Westhill.
Encouraged by the latest discussions, David McGrath said: “We’re optimistic we’ll get the buses rescheduled and get the services back up to standard again.”
Insisting the public demand is there, Culloden and Ardersier councillor Mrs Sinclair said: “It was a very positive meeting.
“What he talked about delivering would be a win-win for the community.”