Through To Orkney By Taxi
Last April Stagecoach altered their local Thurso - Scrabster services and withdrew the section past Thurso railway station, even though their bus garage is virtually adjacent. Orkney-bound rail passengers were faced with an eight-minute brisk walk to Sir Georges Road, whence all services to the ferry terminal now start from, not something to be taken lightly when laden with luggage. One assumes that Stagecoach hoped that such travellers from at least Inverness and Far North line stations within easy reach of the A9 road would eschew the railway in favour of the X99 coach, most of which run through between Inverness and Scrabster.
However, ScotRail on 4 August confirmed it is to provide a taxi-on-request service to transport between Thurso railway station and Scrabster pier customers holding a 'through ticket' between the rail network and Orkney. Following discussions with local taxi companies, Ormlie Taxis will act as the point of contact for all taxi services in the area, taking bookings and distributing revenue. Because mobile phone reception in the area is patchy, customers wishing to make use of the integrated transport service should phone ahead as early as possible - or even the day before. Northbound customers without a mobile phone can ask ScotRail's on-train staff to assist, providing they do so south of Helmsdale. Southbound passengers may similarly ask Stromness ferry terminal staff but not on the ferry itself. Passengers will need to show a valid through ticket to the taxi driver and may have to share with other passengers.
It was hoped to launch the service in early September.