Ring of Breadalbane Explorer 2016 service
The award-winning Ring of Breadalbane Explorer mini bus service starts its fifth season this Sunday, 3rd July. It will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays until Wednesday 28th September. You can obtain Explorer timetable leaflets and posters by contacting Andrew Donaldson at Comrie Croft: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “hop-on hop-off” mini bus service runs both clockwise and anti-clockwise four-times daily to a scheduled timetable connecting the communities of Crieff, Comrie, St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore, Acharn and Aberfeldy on a circular route. The Explorer offers visitors and residents the means to have a perfect day out, taking passengers through the stunning highland scenery of Breadalbane and providing easy access to the area’s top tourist attractions including the Birks Cinema, Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery, the Scottish Crannog Centre, Comrie Croft and Highland Safaris. The buses accommodate child buggies, well behaved dogs and bicycles at no charge and holders of Scottish National Concession passes also travel free.
The service is organised and managed by volunteers from the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative but could not operate were it not for the invaluable technical support provided by the Perth & Kinross Council Public Transport Unit. This year the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer is funded by: Scottish Government Bus Investment Fund; Perth & Kinross Council; Tactran (Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership); Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative.
The future of the Explorer beyond 2016
In the course of the past five years the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative has created, managed and promoted the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer. Over the 2012 to 2015 period, passenger numbers have risen steadily, 10,000 passenger journeys have been made, and feedback has made it clear that the service is needed and well loved. But as with any public transport service in a rural area, the Explorer has to be heavily subsidised. Fare revenue only covers 15% of the operational cost. The 2016 service requires an operational subsidy of £33,500.
Since 2012, support for the Explorer has come from both the public and private sectors. The majority of public sector funding has come from grants for start up and innovative projects. As the demand for the service is now established, and with excellent potential for further growth, the Breadalbane Tourism Cooperative believes it is time for a new form of funding of the Explorer to be adopted.
To take the Explorer forward from 2017 onwards requires the financial support of the communities within which it operates. This can either come from the relevant local authorities (Perth & Kinross; Stirling) taking responsibility for the service, or through financial support from the development trusts, community partnerships etc. of the communities that the Explorer serves.
How you can help
To help assure the long-term future of the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer we urge you to contact your local public representatives to seek their help in obtaining funding for this highly regarded public transport service.
In the meantime, please make what we hope will NOT be the final year of the Explorer the most successful yet by encouraging its use!
Chair, Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative Ltd.
Perthshire FK21 8TX
Tel: (+44) 01567-820527
Mob: (+44) 079-6254-8534