Ring of Breadalbane Explorer

Find out about the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer - a hop-on hop-off bus service for visitors and residents of Highland Perthshire and Stirlingshire.

What are the aims of your project?

This application came to LEADER through the Sustainable Tourism Business Grant Scheme and follows on from a pilot project, which found that users of the service were predominantly local (52 percent) but that 42 percent were staying visitors and that customer satisfaction was very high with 73 percent describing the service as “excellent” and 24 percent as “good”.

The 2013 project built upon the 2012 pilot service by extending the operational period of the service, running for 66 days from late June until mid October 2013.  (The 36-day pilot operated from mid July to mid September 2012.)  Based on the awareness of the project created by the 2012 pilot, in 2013 it was possible to increase marketing of the service and involve more local businesses in the project.

Where is it?

The Ring of Breadalbane Explorer 2013 hop-on hop-off bus service operated in Highland Perthshire and Highland Stirling.  The circular service, which employed two mini-coaches so that it could run both clockwise and counter-clockwise, linked the communities of Killin, Kenmore, Aberfeldy, Crieff, Comrie, St. Fillans and Lochearnhead.

Who’s involved?

The 2013 service was managed by a sub-group of the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative Ltd and operated by Smith & Sons Coaches of Coupar Angus.

How is it funded?

Where did you go for help and advice?

We gained a lot experience from the 2012 pilot which was operated by Kingshouse Travel, a member of the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative.  In 2012 we also paid for consultancy services from Colin Speakman of Transport for Leisure Ltd.

In developing the extended service for 2013 we received much valuable guidance from public transport officers of The Environment Service, Perth & Kinross Council, and the Public Transport Unit, Stirling & Clackmannanshire Councils.

What’s been your greatest achievement so far?

During the 2013 project, more than 2,100 people used the bus service with a rating of good to excellent from 97 percent of those passengers. Good PR and publicity were key to the success of the project.

And the biggest challenge?

  • Creating awareness of the service with local residents of the larger population centres (Aberfeldy and Crieff)
  • Persuading people to leave their cars behind and use the bus
  • Getting local accommodation providers to engage with and buy into the service and promote it with visitors.

Any tips for someone for someone setting up a similar project?

Good PR and publicity were key to the success of the project – one can never do enough of this!

What’s next for your project?

We have received funding for the period 2014 – 2016 from the Scottish Government’s Bus Investment Fund, administered by Transport Scotland.

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