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News round-up / Bus usage figures online, virtual event for innovators, Wishart praises library

Viking Bus Station.

FIGURES of how many bus tickets are being sold in Shetland have been uploaded online to allow people to plan their journeys better during the pandemic.

The information is available on the website of local transport partnership ZetTrans.

While one-metre social distancing is in place on buses, the legal carrying capacity is unaffected.

The figures show that in some instances there are more tickets sold than the social distancing capacity.

Transport contracts and operations officer Elaine Park said: “We hope that this information will enable the travelling public to plan their journeys during the pandemic whilst taking every precaution open to them.

“For anyone with flexibility in the day or time of travel, they can now find at a glance the bus services that are typically below the social distanced capacity and plan accordingly. 

“We continue to work on the format of the information and would welcome feedback as to how this provision could further assist passengers.”

LOCAL individuals, companies and organisations with “innovative schemes in mind” are invited to attend a free virtual event later this month on where they can find out how to access support and funding.

The event is taking place on Thursday 29 October between 9.30am and 1.30pm.

It is being hosted by Shetland Space Centre (SSC), Shetland Islands Council and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), a government organisation that directly funds innovative ideas that benefit the UK’s armed forces and national security.

Speakers will attend from organisations covering a wide range of interests, including artificial intelligence, downstream use of satellite data, defence and security, the internet of things and a range of other technology.

Yvette Hopkins, SSC director of Shetland operations, said: “We are pleased to be joining with SIC and DASA in hosting this virtual event to highlight not only the wide range of organisations that can help support and fund your innovations, but the innovative mindset and business acumen resident in Shetland.

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“SSC looks forward to potentially working together with local businesses, academia and innovators on forward thinking ideas and concepts to support our spaceport plans for Unst.”

Council chief executive Maggie Sandison said: “New technologies and projects such as the Shetland Space Centre offer local companies and individuals the chance to get involved in innovative and creative work.

“This event provides a chance to see what kind of support is out there, and I hope, provides individuals and local businesses with a sense of the range of new opportunities that exist even in the particularly challenging economic environment we face.”

More details can be found online.

LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart has highlighted the work of Shetland Library in a new parliamentary motion.

Shetland Library. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

During what is libraries week, Wishart said the local library is “relied upon” by people throughout the isles.

She said the value of its services has been underlined during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wishart added that staff have put in a “tremendous effort” in ensuring customers’ safety during recent months.

She also refers to the “light-hearted sparring” with Orkney Library on Twitter, and she said “commends the Shetland Library’s efforts in that contest”.

It seems the well-known Northern Isles Twitter banter was set aside in the parliament though, with Orkney MSP Liam McArthur one of those supporting Wishart’s motion.

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