Royal Mail Asks for 200% Increase on Rural Postbuses

In one of those moments when one realizes one’s lost something without even knowing it was there, I see on Jamie Buchanan’s blog reports that five rural postbus routes in the Hyperborean North have been axed, including from Thurso to Tongue and Bettyhill.

Buchanan’s more generous to the Royal Mail’s reasoning than I would have been. As well as the loss of a handy way for tourists of those of us who do not drive to visit these remote areas, the Postbuses were like something out of Postman Pat or Hamish McBeath connecting remote villages and hamlets, such as Applecross. From reports, a requested subsidy from Highlands and Islands Council of just under £13,000 for 2008/9 suddenly jumped to some £36,000. Current stop-gap measures, such as taxis and public buses, are reported to be costing almost £90,000.

I have difficulties enough seeing the justification for this from a company which is *not* a private company, but which should provide a public service. One source of consternation just now is the sorting of all local post in the main Inverness depot, regardless of its travelling between, say, Thurso and Scrabster. I wonder how much this costs.

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