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Free bus transport and entry to rugby match in Inverness as part of initiative

By Will Clark

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Canal Park. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Canal Park. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Fans of Highland Rugby Club will be able to enjoy free bus transport and free entry to watch the team play Ayr at Canal Park on Saturday.

Thanks to a collaboration with Highland RFC, Stagecoach and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places, aimed at promoting active travel, Fans can take advantage of a free electric bus shuttle leaving Inverness Bus Station at 1.30pm and arriving at Canal Park in time for the Ayr match at 3pm.

The shuttle will transport fans back to Inverness Bus Station at 5.30pm. Others wishing to choose an alternative mode of active travel such as cycling, wheeling, walking or using their own electric vehicle will also be entitled to free entry to the match, worth £5.

Upon arrival to Canal Park, stewards will verify the mode of active travel used to get to the game and will be given free entry as well as a Highland RFC branded reusable plastic cup.

There will be reduced car parking available and only electric vehicles will be allowed to park at Canal Park on the day. Alternative parking will be available nearby.

Highland RFC has invited community sports groups in the area to come along and have a pitch to showcase the variety of sports available to young people in the Highlands.

Highlife Highland will also be present at the event giving advice and demonstrations on keeping fit and active.

Attendees to the match will also be in with a chance of winning one of three free memberships for a year with Hi-Bike, the e-bike scheme in Inverness, valued at £80 each.

Additionally, the first 100 attendees can receive a free month pass for Hi-Bike when they sign-up. This monthly pass gives the first 45 mins of every ride free, so those coming to the match could pick up a bike and, if they dock it at Canal Park within 45 minutes, they won’t pay any extra. Hi-Bikes are available from docks at Hilton Community Centre, Culloden Library, Charleston Academy, Inverness Railway Station, Inverness Campus and Great Glen House. Those interested in this offer should check the social media pages of Highland RFC.

President of Highland RFC Roy Dinnes, said: “The match against Ayr RFC is set to be a great community event and Highland RFC is extremely grateful to Stagecoach and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places for getting behind this.

“Our stated club vision is to be more than a rugby club and to make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of our community. The Ayr RFC match is a great example of that. By encouraging fans to choose active travel to come and support Highland RFC, we are able to offer free entry, making it a great day out for the family. The players, coaches and match officials are all behind the initiative and many will be getting to Canal Park using active travel that day.”

Managing director of Stagecoach North Scotland David Beaton added: “We are delighted to be part of this active travel initiative. The Highland RFC versus Ayr RFC game will mark almost a year to the day since Stagecoach launched the UK’s first fully electric bus network in Inverness so laying on an electric shuttle to get fans to and from the game is a fitting way to mark that milestone.”

Project Manager of Active Travel at The Highland Council Neil Young, explained: “The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme supports local authorities in Scotland to encourage more active and sustainable travel choices. It is great to be able to access the funding to support Highland RFC and we hope to support more community initiatives this year which will make it easier for people to leave the car behind.”

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