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Transport / Lerwick car parking ‘problem’ raised during discussion on more airport bus runs

The Viking bus station. Photo: Shetland News/Hans J Marter

THE APPARENT lack of car parking space in Lerwick was raised in the council chamber on Thursday during talks about increased bus runs to Sumburgh Airport, with a park and ride area one idea mooted.

Councillors agreed to approve funding to transport partnership ZetTrans for a range of new bus contracts, with the number of connections to Sumburgh Airport set to nearly double.

There is a hope this will lead to increased usage of the bus to the airport, and as a result, less reliance on people taking cars.

But North Mainland councillor Alastair Cooper noted at a meeting of the full council that the service six only goes to and from Lerwick – and if people drive to town from outlying areas before hopping on the bus to the airport then they might find it hard to park in Lerwick.

“Are there any thoughts at all about how that parking can be dealt with?” he asked.

“Can we have a park and ride place?”

ZetTrans lead officer Michael Craigie said the “short answer” was that it was not something that had been looked into during talks over the new bus contracts.

“It’s a matter we are aware of,” he said – adding that it could be looked into over the next 12 to 18 months.

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison said he wondered if some people might want to leave their cars near the south end of the Black Gaet before catching a bus – something he called a potential “unintended consequence of trying to enhance services”.

It was also noted at the meeting of the full council that upcoming area transport forum meetings will allow communities to have their say on any gaps in provision.