Coach operator Scottish Citylink this week introduced new vehicles for its services between Glasgow and Skye. The coach company announced in May its commitment to delivering new vehicles for the route through the introduction of a new contract.
The contract to operate the route has subsequently been awarded to two firms – West Coast Motors and Shiel Buses – who will jointly operate the popular services.
Two brand-new vehicles and six coaches newer than the existing fleet are being introduced on the route from tomorrow (Friday). Four more new coaches will be introduced by January 2015, Scottish Citylink say.
The new coaches feature toilets, air conditioning and are fully Disability Discrimination Act compliant.
At the launch of the new coaches in Kyleakin on Skye on Monday, Mr Beaton said: “We are delighted to be launching these new vehicles to the route and it is great news for the hundreds of passengers who use these services every week. This new contract is a sign of our commitment to the future of this route and demonstrates that we are investing in improvements for our customers. We hope passengers will enjoy travelling on these new vehicles and we look forward to attracting even more people on to our greener, smarter coach services.”
The new vehicles were introduced following an outcry from passengers using the route over the last few years who found that the buses often did not have a working heating system or a toilet.
Local MSP David Thompson, who met with the managing director of Scottish Citylink, Liz Esnouf, to press for the improvements, said: “This is great news for local people in Skye and Fort William. Good-quality coach links are so important for our communities and it’s fantastic that there will now be newer vehicles in operation on this important route.” Mr MacGillivray added: “As a company who have been operating in the West Highlands for 36 years from our base in Acharacle, we are delighted to have been awarded the contract for the daily Inverness-Skye Service, and in conjunction with West Coast Motors for the Glasgow-Fort William-Skye service.
“With a new depot in Fort William, Shiel Buses are ideally situated to run this service and we have invested heavily in new vehicles to service this new venture.
“We look forward to operating on these busy routes and hope that all our passengers enjoy travelling with us.”
Colin Craig, managing director of West Coast Motors, said: “We are delighted to be offering this service and serving the local community once more with Citylink. Having worked in the area from 2000-2008 we are confident we can help to provide the level of quality service that local people deserve.”
Two of the nearly-new buses are pictured, along with (left to right) Donald MacGillivray, managing director of Shiel Buses, David Thompson MSP, and David Beaton, operations director for Scottish Citylink.