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BUS SERVICES IN JEOPARDY AS HIGHLAND DISMISSES BIDS

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Highland RC this week was considering putting its bus services back out to tender after initial bids for 52 contrac...
Highland RC this week was considering putting its bus services back out to tender after initial bids for 52 contracts came in more than 25% above budget and in many cases unopposed.

Transport services chairman John Farquhar Munro said he was bitterly disappointed at the bids and blamed the failure of bus regulation.

'What has happened is that we have seen competition eliminated by take-overs and we now appear to have geographical monopolies. This is not good for the council nor the user', said Mr Farquhar Munro.

A working group of members has recommended that companies be required to re-tender where prices for the four-year contracts were significantly higher than existing terms.

Highland region already spends more than £800,000 a year on subsidies to the largely rural services.

'The council simply does not have the money available to meet the tenders we have received,' Mr Munro said.

'Unless we receive more realistic prices we will have to make some very painful decisions on the future of some services.'

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