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Improved connections for Gills ferry to be introduced by Stagecoach

By Gordon Calder

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A NEW bus timetable to be introduced by Stagecoach later this month should improve connections for passengers wanting to catch the ferry at Gills.

Under the present schedule, the 77 service goes as far as John O'Groats, with customers having to change buses to reach Gills Bay terminal.

But the new timetable, which comes into operation on Monday, August 19, has made it possible for passengers to travel direct to the site.

Changes introduced by Stagecoach should improve Gills ferry connections
Changes introduced by Stagecoach should improve Gills ferry connections

A spokeswoman for the Stagecoach bus company said: "Two journeys each way Monday-Friday operate directly between Wick, John O'Groats and Gills Bay to connect with the Pentland Ferries journeys."

She also pointed out that the Mount Pleasant area of Thurso has been reintroduced to the 78A/C town service following feedback from customers.

"Residents in the area preferred this service to access local facilities in Thurso town centre," the spokeswoman said. "We revised the timetable and route, looking at customer and staff feedback, and are pleased to be able to meet this request."

She explained that changes to the Thurso to Reay and Bettyhill, Thurso, Castletown, Wick and Dunbeath and Wick to Staxigoe routes have been made for punctuality reasons, while changes to the X98 and X99 services from Caithness to the south have been made "in line with what we released to the public and consulted on in June".

A comfort break has been introduced in Dornoch for passengers on the X99 between Inverness and Caithness as many customers prefer using that facility rather than the on-board toilet.

More than 350 comments were received from customers during the consultation period and resulted in the bus company making timetable adjustments.

David Liston, managing director of Stagecoach North Scotland, said: "I would like to thank everyone who took the time to review our proposals and share their feedback on our services through our consultation in June. We have been delighted with the level of feedback we received regarding the bus network across the Highlands.

"We value the views of the local communities as they allow us to ensure our plans are meeting the travel requirements of a wide range of people whether commuting to work, visiting friends, getting to college or making longer journeys using our bus services.

"As a result of our analysis of all the feedback we received we really hope our new timetables will make travelling by bus even more attractive."

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