A shuttle bus scheme operated by North Lanarkshire Council to transport shoppers into Wishaw town centre cost almost £4000 to run - but only attracted an embarrassing four passengers.
The initiative to help shops in the ailing town centre ran six days a week for three weeks in June but only managed to pick up four passengers during its entire run.
From June 6, the free hop-on service ran from 10am to 2pm Mondays to Saturdays, to and from Main Street and Kenilworth Avenue, Lammermoor Terrace, Kirk Road, Wishaw Cross, Caledonian Road and Belhaven Road, using all bus stops en route.
Despite its handiness, North Lanarkshire Council this week admitted that bus drivers reported only four pople using the bus.
And the cost of running the initiative totalled the sum of £3920.
On flyers advertising the service, the council urged Wishaw residents to “shop locally and support your local town centre” – a message that seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Coucil said: “The shuttle bus was one idea among many to support local businesses and traders during the town centre improvement project and had traders’ full approval.
“Sadly, passenger numbers did not match expectations and it was discontinued many months ago. Nonetheless it was a worthwhile exercise, especially when high streets are under so much pressure.”
However, the spokesman played down the money involved. He said: “The £3920 cost is very misleading since it was an internal recharge for council-owned transport - a minibus used on school runs - which is why the service could only operate between the hours of 10am and 2pm; essentially one part of environmental services ‘billed’ another and no money left the council. We approached SPT but the indicative commercial cost was prohibitive.”