Local News for Thursday 8th March 2018
RNLI red letter day
RNLI Leverburgh Lifeboat station has two red letter days in the diary now, with the arrival of their new Shannon Class Lifeboat on April 21st, and a naming ceremony for the new vessel on July 14th. The new lifeboat is to be called the Stella and Humfrey Berkeley and will arrive on station next month. The arrival will be celebrated by the whole community of South Harris, who have been fundraising energetically since the lifeboat station opened on a trial basis in May 2012. The new vessel was launched in Poole in January and has the call-sign RNLI 13-25, so the team have picked 13.25 as the exact time of her launch on Saturday April 21st.
Ferry ‘chaos’ hits Barra
There has been significant disruption to ferry services between Barra, South Uist and the mainland, which has now reached a crisis point. CalMac is still completing its scheduled dry dock winter service programme, with MV Clansman and MV Lochinvar in dock – but MV Clansman has ‘an emerging issue’ in dock, and MV Loch Alainn has meanwhile been unexpectedly withdrawn from service on the Sound of Barra due to technical issues, with no replacement vessel available until Saturday. All sailings from Ardmhor to Eriskay and return were cancelled yesterday and today, while the Lochboisdale to Mallaig and return sailing are still cancelled. Some additional sailings have been laid on between Lochboisdale and Castlebay and from Castlebay to Oban. The community magazine Guth Bharraidh described the service to the Isle of Barra as ‘chaos’ as CalMac struggled to patch together transport options to serve the island and South Uist.
Read more: Local News for Thursday 8th March 2018
Local News for Wednesday 7th March 2018
Western Isles happier with buses
People who use bus services in the Western Isles are generally happier with the standard of service than people elsewhere in Scotland, feeling safe, getting enough time to sit down before the bus moves and being treated well by drivers, according to new figures produced this week by Citizens Advice Scotland. In a survey of bus users, 88% were happy with the cleanliness of the buses (against a national average of 68%) and 73% content with service punctuality, against a national average of just 44%. But passengers were less happy with the frequency of island bus services, 59% of respondents saying they were dissatisfied, and 13% of people said they couldn’t get to the GP, hospital or to work by bus. The results were part of a report on Scotland’s bus services called ‘Creating Better Journeys’, released by CAS yesterday. CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said: "People deserve a bus service that is reliable, affordable and pleasant to use. We undertook this survey because we wanted to give consumers a voice. The responses came from all parts of Scotland but there was a notably high rate from people in rural areas, where problems like bus infrequency are often more acute. Citizens Advice Scotland will now be meeting with bus companies, local authorities and the Scottish Government to find ways of addressing these issues. Our objective here is to create better journeys for the people who rely on bus services."
Read more: Local News for Wednesday 7th March 2018