BY MICHAEL RUSSELL
Just days after Scottish Citylink’s managing director promised to sort out the appalling Skye-Glasgow bus service, passengers travelling last Sunday were again forced to endure low temperatures in a vehicle with no working heating system.
In a meeting with local MSP David Thompson last week, Liz Esnouf outlined a “series of measures which are already being taken”, including the refurbishment of three old buses which were replaced by Megabus vehicles.
However, according to Christine Martin from Breakish, the 10am service that left Glasgow on Sunday 26th January had no working heating system.
She said: “Everyone was frozen and complaining — many were tourists. The driver was asked by a few passengers what the temperature was and he told us it was six degrees which was far too cold for us to be sitting around in. He said the heating was broken down.
On leaving Fort William with a new driver we said we were not happy about the situation and he said that while we had been having the break he had got us a new bus and transferred all our stuff over as he had refused to take the one with no heating to Skye. But he also said that the one we had been on with no heating was now going with a full load of passengers back to Glasgow.”
It also emerged this week that a Boxing Day service last year also ran without heating and that one passenger discovered that her bag and its contents were soaked when she got home to Portree.
A spokeswoman for Scottish Citylink said: “We started making changes to improve the service around four weeks ago and they have been going well. However, there was an occasion on Sunday when our contractor put the wrong vehicle into service. We are extremely unhappy about this and have taken the issue up with them as a matter of urgency. We would like to apologise to passengers who were affected by this error. We are continuing with our plan to further improve services for our customers on this route.”
Mr Thompson added: “It is disappointing that complaints keep on coming in about the Skye Citylink bus service, especially after the assurances I received from Liz Esnouf, Scottish Citylink managing director, that the problematic buses had been removed for refurbishment and replaced by Megabuses. It would now appear that other buses in the fleet have similar problems and I will be speaking to Ms Esnouf about this as a matter of urgency so that these buses will also be refurbished or replaced so that the people of Skye and the West Highlands can get a bus service which is fit for purpose.”