In 2021, we welcomed a brand-new fleet of buses to Orkney, which will be used for school transport and public bus services across mainland Orkney.

Transport is Scotland’s biggest carbon-emitting sector, accounting for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, with 40% of those emissions coming from cars. Therefore, investing in sustainable and reliable public transport will be one of the many ways to help Scotland get to Net Zero, but it must work for everyone.

As part of our broader marine services and transportation remit, we are responsible for the public bus contract and the day to day running of services.

The school and public bus contract awarded in August 2021 placed a higher scoring focus on quality versus price to encourage significant investment in a new or newer fleet.

We invited tenders for mainland public bus services based on three different operating models:

  • Operators providing their own fleet,
  • Operators using Council-purchased new electric buses, or
  • Operators using Council-purchased new diesel vehicles.

Unfortunately, we received no tender interest to operate services using electric fleet. Whilst there is still a desire by the Council to use electric buses to provide services, there were too many range and reliability concerns at this time to make it a viable proposition.

The winning tender from Stagecoach to operate mainland public bus services was on the basis of the operator continuing to provide their own fleet and the proposal was to provide brand new Euro 6 low emission fleet for all services tendered.

Whilst this fleet will be diesel-powered, the new buses meet Euro 6 standards and are classed as a low emission fleet. The Council also has a low-carbon innovation clause within the contract, which allows the service and operators Stagecoach to explore low-energy solutions in the near future, such as electric or hydrogen-powered buses.

“We are delighted to see the introduction of the first of the new fleet to Orkney and look forward to promoting and encouraging the use of public bus services again.”

Laura Cromarty, Transportation Manager

With a brand-new, reliable, low emission fleet of buses, we would like to encourage the use of public transport across Orkney to travel to work, to the shops, for education or leisure purposes. By encouraging bus use instead of car use, together we can lower emissions and help tackle the effects of climate change.

Why you should get back on public transport:

  • It’s better for the environment: less cars on the road means better air quality and less pollution will benefit the health and wellbeing of our communities.
  • It’ll get you active: walking, cycling or wheeling to the bus stop will get you active, your blood pumping, which is great for your health.
  • It will get you where you need to go: this time around your public bus service will be reliable and well-serviced.
  • Saves on stress and hassle: you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot or falling foul of road rage!
  • You can turn your journey into time well spent: relax with a book, get on with the knitting, make plans for your free time, catch up with friends and colleagues, by taking the bus you free up your hands to do more with your life.
Subscribe to Alerts
To receive a notification when we add a new Notice, please enter your email below and click Subscribe.