Issue - meetings

Opportunity for verbal updates by Cowal Transport Forum Members

Meeting: 14/02/2023 - Cowal Transport Forum (Item 5)

Opportunity for verbal updates by Cowal Transport Forum Members



Scottish Partnership for Transport (SPT)


Alan Comrie of Scottish Partnership for Transport (SPT) gave a verbal update advising that there was no reduction on service or fare increase on the 302 Carrick Castle to Helensburgh bus route.  The SPT are liaising with Scotrail over the Inverclyde Timetable.


Alan also advised that concession fares had been frozen by Scotrail and Calmac which helps with SPT funding so is a good thing within the Concession Fare Scheme.  The next meeting of the Concession Fare Scheme is scheduled for 17th March where a paper will be presented on the fares level.  He commented that the cost of living crisis would be part of the considerations when reviewing fares.


Alan also hopes to meet with Calmac to discuss ticketing and concessions.




The Forum noted the update.


Public Transport


Concerns were raised regarding the demise of the Dial-a-Bus and replacement with the new Pingo Service in the Cowal Penisula which had a specific impact on elderly users.


Martin Arnold the Council’s Contract Officer within the Integrated Transport Team gave a brief outline of what that section of the Council covers; School Transport, Public Buses, Bus Stops and the infrastructure surrounding it.


Martin advised that the Dial-a-Bus had evolved into the Pingo Service in partnership with West Coast Motors which runs from Monday-Saturday covering a larger area of the Peninsula, which had been requested for locally.   Due to low usage the Dial-a-Bus had turned in to a “thirsty” Taxi running at 8 miles to the gallon and therefore had not been cost effective. 


The Pingo service runs a smaller vehicle which is a 17 seater, low level and more fit for purpose for the elderly, infirm and people living with disabilities.  In addition to the app, Martin drew attention to the update provided at the meeting by West Coast Motors noting the intention to launch a designated telephone line for the booking of the bus and therefore the operator will get to know the customer’s needs.  Martin asked that this enhanced service be rolled out so that effectiveness and usage could be monitored among elderly users of the service.




The Forum expressed some concerns that key partners were not in attendance for the discussion; that there were times when the Pingo service was closely followed by the service bus; and that there may be a need to enhance this service given current user figures, perhaps looking also at reserved time slots on specific dates for users over a specific age.  Martin Arnold agreed to take forward these issues with management and also with West Coast Motors who deliver the service.