Tuesday 12 February 2019

Bus route cuts in North East Scotland

Bus services across Aberdeenshire to be scrapped in effort to save council funds

Bus services across the north-east will be scrapped in an effort to help Aberdeenshire Council save money. The authority has identified 27 routes that will now be withdrawn – to the dismay of many community groups and leaders. Alterations will affect Fraserburgh in the north to Laurencekirk in the south and will be felt as far afield as Braemar.

There are even fears the cuts will prevent people from enjoying the Deeside village’s increasingly vibrant visitor offering. The council has cited “budget pressures” as the driving factor behind its decision to slash services that have been assessed as under-utilised. Money available for council-supported bus services is expected to be reduced by around £560,000 when the authority sets its budget later this month. To stay within budget for 2019/20, the council’s transportation service is reducing those bus routes it deems provide the least value for money.

It has admitted the changes – which will come into effect from Monday April 15 – will have a “detrimental impact” upon passengers but has also warned further tough decisions are ahead. Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter. Among the communities affected will be Braemar, which will lose its last Sunday bus service connecting the town to Aberdeen. Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett expressed her disappointment and pledged she will fight the cuts. She said: “We’ve got the newly opened Fife Arms and there’s the new Highland Games centre. There’s so much going on in Braemar right now, yet people will no longer be able to hop on a bus and come out and see it. It’s going to be very detrimental for the people of Braemar and indeed the people of Aberdeenshire and I’ll be speaking out against this on behalf of the community.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “We have tried to minimise the potential negative impacts for individuals and communities where possible, but would encourage anyone who feels they would be unduly affected to get in touch. We realise this may have a detrimental effect on passengers, but the council and communities will continue to have difficult decisions to make on the provision of local services into the future.”

Another community affected is Peterhead, which will lose services to Fraserburgh, Mintlaw and Boddam.

The changes will come into force from the 15th of April.

The full list of the changes is detailed below:

Service 26 Luthermuir/ Laurencekirk – Stonehaven – Saturday services cut. There are no alternatives between Laurencekirk and Stonehaven by bus, but there are rail links.
Service 51 Fraserburgh – New Pitsligo – Ellon – Saturday services cut. Alternative routes to and from Fraserburgh (Stagecoach 270) or to/from Ellon via Mintlaw (central Buchan A2B Dial-A-Bus)
Service 66/66a Stuartfield – Peterhead – 2245 bus from Mintlaw to Peterhead and 2320 from Peterhead to Stuartfield, both on Saturdays, are both cut. The last bus from Peterhead now leaves at 2220 and stops in Mintlaw.
Service 68 Mintlaw – Fraserburgh – 0721 bus cut. There are no alternative services.
Service 67/68 Aberdeen – Fraserburgh – 1910 and 2010 services from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen between Monday and Friday replaced by one departure at 1940. 2105 and 2205 from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh during the week replaced by one at 2135.
Service 69 St Combs – Fraserburgh – Monday to Friday services after 1830 withdrawn, with no alternatives.
Service 69B Peterhead – St Fergus – Fraserburgh – 0645 Saturday service between Fraserburgh and Peterhead withdrawn, with no alternatives.
Service 74 Rosehearty – Fraserburgh – Services after 1900 on weekdays withdrawn.
Service 76/77 Fraserburgh Town Service – 1805, 1835 and 2115 Saturday services from Broad Street withdrawn.
Service 81 Peterhead – Boddam – 0518 from Peterhead to Boddam and 0530 Boddam to Peterhead withdrawn.
Service 82A Peterhead – Meethill – Boddam – 0730 Saturday service from Peterhead to Boddam and 0747 from Boddam to Peterhead on the same day withdrawn.
Service 84 Peterhead Town Service – 1853 Monday to Friday and 1850 on Saturday, both from Chapel Street withdrawn.
Service 201 Aberdeen – Aboyne – 2115 Sunday service between Aberdeen and Aboyne will terminate in Banchory. Nearest alternative to Aboyne leaves Aberdeen at 2245.
Service 201 Aboyne – Torphins – 2117 Friday service between Aboyne and Torphins withdrawn. Nearest alternative departs at 2028.
Service 201 Aberdeen – Braemar – 0745 Sunday service between Aberdeen and Braemar withdrawn; 0945, 1345 and 1815 Sunday service from Aberdeen to Braemar will terminate in Ballater; 2245 Sunday route between Aberdeen and Ballater to terminate in Banchory; 1025, 1225, 1825 and 2035 between Braemar and Aberdeen on Sunday will commence from Ballater.
Service 204 Strachan – Banchory – Aberdeen – 0715 from Strachan to Aberdeen between Monday and Friday withdrawn.
Service 218 Alford – Westhill/ Aberdeen – 1812 Alford to Elrick and 1906 Elrick to Alford, both Monday to Friday, withdrawn.
Service 231 Alford – Huntly – Monday to Friday service, comprising 4 return journeys, withdrawn; Schoolday return journey departing Alford at 0750 hrs and returning from Huntly at 1552 hrs is unaffected. Reduced inter-peak service to be provided by an A2B dial-a-bus service. 1355 hrs from Alford to Huntly (Saturday) and 1452 hrs from Huntly to Alford (Saturday) withdrawn. There is still a return journey on Saturdays, departing Alford at 0955 hrs and returning from Huntly at 1152 hrs.
Service 253 Turriff – Mintlaw – Fraserburgh – 903 hrs from Turriff to Fraserburgh (Tue & Fri) and 1320 hrs from Fraserburgh to Turriff (Tue & Fri) withdrawn; Alternative services available, for all intermediate settlements affected, to their nearest market towns.
Service 272 Banff to Fraserburgh – 0720 hrs from Fraserburgh to Banff (Mon – Fri) and 1705 hrs from Banff to Fraserburgh (Monday to Friday) withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 273 Banff – Gardenstown/ Fraserburgh – Saturday service, comprising 4 return journeys, withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 292 Tarves – Ellon – 0812 hrs from Tarves to Ellon (Mon – Fri) and 1708 hrs from Ellon to Tarves (Mon to Fri) withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 301 Macduff – Aberchirder – Huntly – Saturday service, comprising 2 return journeys, withdrawn; Aberchirder has an alternative Saturday service to/from Turriff and Inverurie (Service 308).
Service 308 Aberchirder/ Turriff/ Rothienorman – Inverurie – 1114 hrs from Aberchirder to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1310 hrs from Turriff to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1011 hrs from Inverurie to Aberchirder (Mon – Fri) and 1357 hrs from Inverurie to Rothienorman (Mon – Fri) withdrawn. Remainder of Monday to Friday service plus Saturday service unaffected.
Service 402 Kingseat – Hatton of Fintry – Inverurie – 0915 hrs from Kingseat to Inverurie (Thursday) and 1215 hrs from Inverurie to Kingseat (Thursday) withdrawn; The Tuesday return journey from Kingseat and Inverurie via Newmachar and Kinmuck is unaffected; A weekly A2B dial-a-bus service has recently been introduced between Hatton of Fintray and Inverurie.
Service 417 Lumsden – Insch – 0915 hrs from Kingseat to Inverurie (Thursday) and 1215 hrs from Inverurie to Kingseat (Thursday) withdrawn; The Tuesday return journey from Kingseat and Inverurie via Newmachar and Kinmuck is unaffected; A weekly A2B dial-a-bus service has recently been introduced between Hatton of Fintray and Inverurie.
Service 421 Alford/ Kemnay – Inverurie – 1820 hrs from Alford to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1905 hrs from Inverurie to Alford (Mon – Fri), 1845 hrs from Alford to Inverurie (Saturday), 2127 hrs from Inverurie to Kemnay (Saturday), and Sunday service, comprising 3 return journeys, withdrawn; Alternative evening and Sunday services to/from Aberdeen only.
Service 777 Oldmeldrum – Westhill – Dyce – 0640 hrs from Oldmeldrum to Dyce (Mon – Fri) and 1640 hrs from Dyce to Oldmeldrum (Mon – Fri) withdrawn; Alternatives available for the vast majority of passenger journeys currently being undertaken, albeit requiring interchange in some cases.
A2B Dial-A-Bus Insch – Monday to Thursday inter-peak flexible service withdrawn. Insch has alternative Services 41 and 416 to/from Inverurie, 41A to/from Huntly, and 10C to/from Aberdeen. Friday A2B service is continuing.