Stagecoach have reassured Ellon bus users that plans to merge their local bus route with a bigger service will be closely monitored when it comes into effect next month.
Around 40 people attended the Formartine Bus Forum meeting on Monday where Stagecoach announced that the local service will be merged with an Aberdeen bound bus on May 5, but the firm added that any problems would be quickly reviewed.
Ellon and District Councillor Gillian Owen challenged the managing director, Mr Walker, about the company’s proposal to merge the existing 65 circular service with a 62 one, pointing out that the local service had proved to be efficient and was well received by the public.
“All the feedback I am getting about the 65 bus is good and I urge Stagecoach to think again,” said Mrs Owen who was supported by many Ellon bus users, all predicting that plans to introduce a big through bus would not be able to match the efficiency of the current 65 service.
Mr Walker explained that the town service was not economically viable, but agreed that when the new operation came into existence on May 5, any problems in respect of time-keeping would be quickly addressed.
Chairman Rob Merson acknowledged that the loss of the 65 service in the town had been of major concern to a large section of the community. Mr Merson said: ”We are never going to please everyone, but I think Steve Walker has made it very clear that will review any issues that come with the introduction of the 62 service in May.”
Mrs Owen was also pleased that the firm had listened to their points.
Mrs Owen added: “We have presented our case and the company have taken aboard our concerns by agreeing to review the new arrangements should they encounter problems.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire Council have reminded Ellon passengers that a council run service for the town will not be affected.
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “Although Stagecoach plans to replace their commercial town Service 65, there remains a council-contracted Service 254 (Ellon Town Service).
“The 254 serves all parts of Ellon on an approximate hourly basis on weekdays, and approximately two-hourly on Saturdays.”