Tour operators back guided bus routes
MOVES to get cruise ship passengers off the buses and onto guided routes have been backed by tour guides, although there are concerns about who would provide the service.
Environment & Infrastructure is consulting on a new fare structure including the introduction of a £5 around-the-island fare on the 91 and 92 buses, which are frequently full in the summer as visitors take advantage of the current £1 charge.
An enhanced Island Tour public excursion service by Island Coachways is also designed to relieve pressure on scheduled bus services on cruise ship days.
This will run from Picquet House and offer a guided tour in coaches with various photo opportunities along the route at a cost of £10 per passenger (£5 for children).
Bailiwick of Guernsey Guild of Accredited Guides chairwoman Gill Girard said: ‘Upon initial review, the guild do think it’s a positive move to get tourists and cruise passengers off public transport services and onto specially designed buses and routes – also providing visitors with more information on the island as they travel around it.
‘However, we are so far unclear on who will be able to provide these tours and we don’t want established guides being undercut.’
The revised fares are planned to be introduced from Monday 1 April, with some timetable changes due to take effect on 29 April.
Contactless payments will be taken for the first time.
Bus user Irena Roman said: ‘I don’t think the buses are too busy in the summer really, but they can make more revenue to then put back into the buses and make improvements, which is good.’
Cost is a factor which is concerning passenger Keith Watson. ‘My apprehension with these alterations is that in recent years, I think, we have spent £4.5m. on new buses and a further £5m. on bus subsidy.
‘How much money needs to be spent and how many changes need to be made to make the service effective?
‘I personally check buses when I see them and outside of peak times there is rarely more than four passengers.’
Proposed timetable changes would see the removal of Route 62, introduced last year in an attempt to address overloading issues on Route 91/92 services, slight reductions in ‘off-peak’ service levels on Routes P2, 51 and 52 and the introduction of additional early-evening services on some routes to provide an extended service during summer evenings.
Also proposed is a ‘modest’ fare increase to Pay As You Go and other smart card products.
n The consultation period runs until Tuesday 26 March.
People can submit comments in writing to The Director of Traffic & Highway Services, Bulwer Avenue Office, Bulwer Avenue, St Sampson’s, GY1 3HY or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.