Electric Buzza Bus Will Not Return In October

It’s unlikely that the Buzza Bus will be returned to the islands as expected by the end of October and Council staff seem to be losing patience.

The fully-electric vehicle, which provides the dial-a-ride service for elderly residents and people with mobility problems, was returned to the mainland supplier in Glasgow for repairs in August, after being plagued with technical problems and breakdowns.

Councillor’s at yesterday’s Community Services Committee were told by Penny Penn Howard, Director of Community Services, that the Council doesn’t want the vehicle returned until it’s been “tested to destruction” and if necessary, they may ask for their money back.

There is currently nobody qualified on the islands to repair the vehicle and a replacement diesel minivan is on loan from Age Concern, who operate the service.

Council Chair, Mike Hicks insisted that the Council “needs to be firm” with the suppliers adding that they should supply another vehicle to demonstrate it’s not a design fault with the model itself.

Despite the unreliability of the vehicle, the service is extremely popular with users and they’re looking to extend the service to provide out-of-hours transport for special events.

The Buzza Bus has recently been nominated for the 2011 Guardian newspaper’s Community Service Awards.