Thursday 21 September 2023

Inverness Fort William : Information Failure!


Scottish Citylink is a superb service - if ou can find the information.

The only map fbb could find was a minimalist production which did not even show route numbers! But the service between Inverness and Fort William is hourly during the summer season ...
... as shown on the above timetable extract. An hourly service through some relatively sparsely populated areas is generous and it is well used. Although the vehicles are coaches ...
... the services are used as buses by the locals, paying the driver in the normal way.

Needless to say, the Citylink web site is packed with clutter; but with a little grim determination you can actually find the timetables. But you really do need to know what you are looking for.

So, after a rather uninspiring "cruise om Loch Ness" seeing lots of trees three goats and four hairy coos, fbb investigated the information available at Fort Augustus. The town is about half way along the route.
What helpful information does Citylink provide to attract potential customers?

Answer - NONE.

Google maps offers a starter ...
... but ony for the northbound stop, The 312, by the way, operates on schooldays only, a fact that can be gleaned from Traveline's over-complex collection of notes.
The Highland Council had quite a significant fleet dedicated mainly to schools work with some "ordinary" infill between its scholarly duties.
So where do the soutyboyund services stop. There is a "service road" opposite the northbound stop but ...
... but it is bereft of buses!

In fact the northbound lay-by ...
... is a very tiny bus station with road markings indicating that the southbound buses pull in, operating "wrong road".
Indeed a southbound Citylink coach pulled it, but fbb was sufficiently un-nmble to get close enough for a picture.

fbb did, however, snap a northbound coach in Fort Augustus "bus station"!
Behind the coach in the above shot was a bus stop pole and flag ...
... with no legible or useful information.

In the shelter was a huge poster frame ...
... filled with nothing. Maybe these sheets of paper once carried something legible but whatever it was has ling since faded in to nothingness.

But there was one of these.
There was nothing to say what it was and, yes, fbb was patient but powerful and profuse prodding produced nothing of an help.

Does anyone know what this panel is supposed to do?

It seems beyond belief that Citylink, a good quality operator (apparently), should fail to to inform its potential passengers from Fort Augustus when the uses run.


But it is not just Fort Augustus. On the Friday of their holidays the fbbs went to the Isle of Skye and called at the fantastic Eilean Donan Castle.
And there are bus stops to explore there as well.

But, there as good news. Timetables were on display - but where?

Due to the indisposition of fbb with his horridly heavy cold, the above blog has been reduced in size and scope.

 Next Highland Bus Stop blog : Friday 22nd Sept. 


  1. It took me a few seconds to find the timetable, simply by entering "bus fort william - inverness" into Google (other search engines are available). Google provides an instant list of "next departures", and the first entry in the results list was the relevant page on the Citylink website, with a download link for the full timetable.

    Why do you try to do the equivalent of going from Seaton to London via Birmingham?


    1. Internet searches are well-known for throwing up outdated information, which isn't always obvious

  2. I am not sure why 'grim detertimation' is required to find timetables on the Citylink website. One of the primary tabs at the top of the page is clearly marked 'Timetables & Service Updates" . from there is is simple to pick your route (clue from the map) and it displays the relevant timetable. There is even a download button.
    Expecting the Coach Tracker to actually tell you where your coach is another thing altogether...