This letter was published in the Herald on Sunday on 24 November 2019. If Bob Barnes-Watts were still with us he would probably have been shouting, "Hear, hear!"
I read with interest your article on sustainable tourism (Herald on Sunday, November 17), and in particular the segment about Cairngorms Connected.
As is usual in Scotland when faced with poor, declining or an absence of services we carry out a project which will almost inevitably reach blindingly obvious conclusions and not uncommonly borrow solutions which have been in place for years elsewhere (e.g. integrated transport is a reality all over Europe).
One such project may be the EU/HITRANS project: Cairngorms Connected - which it is certainly not at present.
Earlier in the year my teenage son needed to get to Cairngorm (from Inverness - the regional hub) in the morning where he was doing some volunteering. He looked at the train and bus timetables and found to his dismay that the bus left Aviemore station less than 10 minutes before the train arrived.
In his frustration he wrote to all of the Highland MSPs (only three of whom contacted him) asking why the bus and train services could not meet and why with a little thought could a through ticket not be available. He also suggested perhaps some other initiative such as a through travel ticket which gave a discount on a lift pass (notwithstanding the disaster that is the funicular) or food.
In the event Fergus Ewing took on the case and his researcher contacted both ScotRail and Stagecoach and got short shrift - one stating that they could hardly change the service for one person. Strategic thinking of this standard is hard to come by!
The issue culminated in a long letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Transport advising of the huge subsidy paid to these companies and of the various bureaucratic fixes he intended to put in place to improve public transport (including of course the mandatory committee).
However, the only conclusion my son and I came to on the matter was that significant public subsidy and two Cabinet Secretaries couldn't get a bus effectively to nowhere to wait 10 minutes for a train at Aviemore!
Since re-telling the story to friends the incident has been serially trumped by trains not meeting ferries, buses not meeting ferries or trains and so on.
Colin Clark, Inverness