Shuttle bus plan for shopping and medication

West Coast Motors double decker in Tayinloan

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West Coast Motors is planning to use buses to shuttle vital shopping and prescriptions to people in isolated communities including Campbeltown during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Campbeltown-based bus operator has seen a dramatic fall in passenger numbers which has worsened since last week’s official lockdown.

With shops, schools and workplaces shut and the message to stay at home backed up with new police powers, regular bus users are staying away.

Bus bosses have had to rip-up regular timetables and temporarily ‘furlough’ a number of drivers, but have kept some ‘key routes’ going and are now in talks about how the company’s fleet and drivers can help the area.

In a double whammy for vital services, tourists are no longer coming to the area which has forced a radical rethink of the service model.

West Coast Motors confirmed this week it has been working with stakeholders such as local councillors to try to develop new ideas.

A spokeswoman said the company is working with Argyll and Bute Council to provide a service to those who most need it.

Talks are ongoing and she said there was a need to ensure that any idea closely observed safe social distancing and coronavirus preventative measures. Hand sanitisers have been put on buses and face masks made available to drivers.

She added: ‘On Friday, March 27, we announced free bus travel for all NHS workers. This is available by presenting a valid NHS card to our driver.

‘In some areas, such as Campbeltown, Ardrishaig and Dunoon, we are working with local communities and offering a delivery service for those most vulnerable.

‘This is an area we expect to further develop as more people self-isolate and to reduce the growing pressure on local pharmacists and shops. We expect a more detailed coordinated plan will be agreed with the local council.

‘At this time, we would encourage community groups and local businesses to get in touch with our teams.’

Clare Little is the contact for people in the Campbeltown area and she can be contacted by emailing c.little@westcoastmotors.co.uk

At the moment, the Campbeltown Calton and Meadows circular route, number 100/440, is currently running four times daily from Monday to Saturday, while there is a reduced number of trips on the 200/442 Campbeltown to Machrihanish, 300/445 Campbeltown to Carradale, 443 Campbeltown to Sound of Kintyre; and 400/444 Campbeltown to Southend routes.

The 926 Campbeltown to Glasgow service is currently operating a reduced timetable, with a bus leaving Campbeltown at 8.30am and arriving in Glasgow at 12.50pm. It then then leaves Glasgow at 2.20pm, returning to Campbeltown at 6.37pm.

See the company’s website at www.westcoastmotors.co.uk for all current timetables and updates.