Coronavirus: Buses could carry prescriptions

Bus services are likely to be reduced but could carry urgent goods.Bus services are likely to be reduced but could carry urgent goods.
Bus services are likely to be reduced but could carry urgent goods. | Other 3rd Party
Buses could deliver prescriptions and other urgent goods in rural areas, transport secretary Michael Matheson told MSPs today.

But he warned passengers that public transport across the board could be cut after demand has fallen by up to 80 per cent because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He said: “Cashflow issues will have a significant impact on service and business viability.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Matheson said there was concern about inter-island ferries in Orkney and Shetland continuing to run because they did not have relief crews if staff became sick.

Caledonian Sleeper services to the Highlands may be suspended.Caledonian Sleeper services to the Highlands may be suspended.
Caledonian Sleeper services to the Highlands may be suspended. | Other 3rd Party

CalMac would maintain “lifeline” routes but the frequency of sailings might need to be cut if ferries had to serve several routes.

The cabinet secretary said: “We are confident we are able to maintain ferry connectivity to the islands.

“Some of the larger vessels are double crewed which provides greater resilience.

“But we may have to scale back the level of service to free up vessels to serve another route – but we are not at that stage yet.

Prestwick Airport has seen increased demand for air freight. Picture: Robert PerryPrestwick Airport has seen increased demand for air freight. Picture: Robert Perry
Prestwick Airport has seen increased demand for air freight. Picture: Robert Perry | Other 3rd Party

He said reductions in ScotRail services were being being “urgently” planned.

Caledonian Sleeper trains to the north of Scotland might be suspended if there was a lack of demand, with only Edinburgh/Glasgow-London services continuing, perhaps at reduced frequency.

Mr Matheson said ScotRail passenger numbers had fallen by 30 per cent since Monday, but there was enhanced cleaning including of station stair rails, ticket machines and train door buttons.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Network Rail was training more signallers and other staff to ensure trains could keep running if staff became sick.

He said aviation was experiencing "extreme pressure” with demand down by 70-80 per cent.

He said: “Some airlines around the world will fail, which will have an impact on our air connectivity.”

Read More
Coronavirus: Loganair to halve Highlands and Islands flights after 75 per cent b...

However, Prestwick Airport had received increased enquiries about handling freight flights.

Mr Matheson said: “There would appear to be an increase in demand for cargo-only services.”

He said bus travel was down by 20 per cent and operators were considering timetable changes.

But he said some firms were looking to use buses to deliver goods and prescriptions.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.