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We have now received the report into public transport in our area, and copies of the full report are available from the Secretary. Here we extract the introduction, background and conclusions of the report: -


 In February 2008 Dunnet and Canisbay community council carried out a survey of transport needs within its area. The survey was sponsored by Carnegie UK, Caithness Partnership and Highland Council. An earlier consultation exercise had clearly identified transport as the overriding issue affecting the lives of people in the community.


The Dunnet and Canisbay area lies to the far north east of Caithness. Much of the area is reasonably equidistant to Wick and Thurso, the two county towns. The majority of the population live along the main coastal roads the A836 and A99. There are however many settlements in scattered outlying areas.


The community has a higher than average number of elderly residents with day care available in Wick or Thurso. The main centres of employment for the area are Wick, Thurso and Dounreay. There are two primary schools with pre school nurseries and all secondary pupils travel to Wick or Thurso. A doctor’s surgery is located in Canisbay and there are six village halls in the community. 


Seven post offices have closed in recent years with a restricted mobile service provided in only some of the affected villages. Two grocery shops with petrol stations have closed and two petrol stations remain in John O’ Groats and Auckengill. Fuel is approximately 10p per litre more expensive than in town. 


Rapsons busses operate services from John O Groats to Wick and to Thurso. Citylink is used by residents for journeys south, to Inverness in particular, but does not stop in the community. It can be accessed in Wick, Thurso or Castletown.    Dial-a-Ride operates in the area but the high number of ‘dead miles’ and high demand mean it is often not available. There are no taxi companies based in the area although they can be hired from further afield. Train services are available from Wick and Thurso stations and there is an airport in Wick. A passenger ferry to Orkney operates from John O Groats and a ferry at Gills harbour takes passengers, cars and heavy goods vehicles to the Orkney mainland. 


1.      Conclusions
a)      Interest in public transport
·         The response rate of 24% was good
·         Respondents were predominantly from the older age categories
b)      Busses
·         Demand for more frequent services on existing routes
·         Late busses required in the evenings
·         Increase services on Saturday
·         Introduce services on Sunday
·         Improve connectivity with Citylink, trains, ferries
·         Include Barrock, Hillside, Brough and Scarfskerry on routes
·         Include Lyth in bus services
c)      Dial-a Ride
·         Increase awareness of Dial-a Ride service
·         Improve availability of Dial-a Ride particularly in the evening
d)      Citylink
·         Improve links to Citylink services
e)      Community Transport Initiatives
·         A high level of interest in volunteering
·         Demand for community based transport
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