ONE of Scotland’s biggest tourist attractions is at the centre of a bus stop bungle after the base was built at one spot – and the shelter at another.
The new stop at the Highland Wildlife Park has neatly-laid foundations about 20 metres away from where the wooden frame has been constructed.
The hilarious mix-up happened when the local council started work on a bus stop not realising the park had already been given planning permission to create its own shelter.
After spending thousands of pounds laying the asphalt surface, it dawned on council workmen that a complete wooden shelter had been put up next door by the owners of the park, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).
Work on the council bus stop near Kingussie was abandoned and, rather than spend thousands more on demolition work, the base will be left as it is.
Staff at the Highland Wildlife Park have been forced to advise confused visitors that their wooden stop is the “real” one.
Visitor Ruaridh Ormiston, took to Facebook after noticing the bungle and said the “official” stop was almost completed when the council workmen turned up.
He said: “Please tell me I am wrong. Is the new bus stop going to be 20 yards down the road from where the new bus shelter is being built at the Highland Wildlife Park ?
“And why build the little bus stop platform but but not build a path to it ?
“I do hope this is a sign that bus services and information for tourists and locals alike is going to improve in our end of the park – nobody ever knows when buses are running or what times or if they stop etc etc.
“Is nobody responsible for co-ordinating this and ensuring correct and accurate bus timetables for Stagecoach and Citylink are on display?”
He added: “The wooden shelter was already two thirds built by the time they showed up and began building the base.
“It does make you wonder what the guys were thinking when laying it and looking at the bus stop just yards away.”
A spokesman for the RZSS said they sought planning permission some time ago for a sheltered bus stop outside the park.
“This is the official bus stop,” said the spokesman. “From what we understand, there was an error with the additional incomplete bus stop base further down the road.”
A spokesman for Taxpayers Scotland was scathing.
He said: “Interesting to hear that the lions of efficient public service provision can’t get their ducks in a row with the local unicorn keepers.
“These turkeys gobble our money greedily, while we chickens get the bird seed left over to cross the road and avoid the bus trying to work out where to stop.”
A spokeswoman for Highland Council said: “As part of works to improve public transport facilities in Badenoch and Strathspey, Highland Council’s transport co-ordination unit previously had plans to erect a bus shelter outside the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig and a tar base was laid in preparation for the installation.
“The Highland Wildlife Park received planning permission to install a wooden bus shelter at a different location and the council is working with the park to provide them with a bus stop sign at their location.
“The council has cancelled plans to install a shelter and will now use its shelter somewhere else in the area.”
This isn’t the first time a Scottish council has erected a pointless bus shelter across the country.
Earlier this year, Edinburgh Council built a brand new stop on Saughton Road in the west of the city – despite no services using this route.