Buchan Xpress receives formal complaint

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A Buchan councillor has raised a formal complaint against Stagecoach and their Buchan Xpress coaches.

Jim Ingram, Councillor for Central Buchan, lodged the complaint with the bus company citing accessibility issues especially for the disabled.

Mr Ingram said: “Numerous people claim that they are unable to access the buses, combined with reports that many disabled users have been left standing at bus stops due to the (only) two low level disabled seats being occupied, and they are unable to climb the stairs to the general seating area.”

Mr Ingram highlights that, “with only two disabled seats located behind the driver, plus a space for a wheelchair user positioned alongside the driver, all other seating is located at the higher level.”

The councillor believes the steps to the higher level is to steep and can be considered dangerous.

Mr Ingram argues that the buses fail to comply with the disabled discrimination legislation as the buses do not meet the required criteria of four seats designated for disabled users.

Around 300 people recently attended a public meeting in Mintlaw to voice concerns about accessibility and provision of seats for disabled passengers on the new Buchan Express coaches.

A Stagecoach North Scotland spokesperson said: “The feedback we have received from customers about the new vehicles has included a number of positive comments.”

They added: “In particular, we have seen a rise in the number of concessionary passengers using the route since they were introduced. We are looking into potential modifications to the coaches that would see additional hand rails and stopping bells installed and also plan to carry out a satisfaction survey in the coming weeks.”

Christine Jardine, the Lib Dem candidate for Aberdeenshire East has urged travellers to pick up copies of Stagecoach’s survey from herself or the company themselves.

She said: “It was clear from the public meeting in Mintlaw that a great number of people are finding the buses difficult, both in terms of access and in being able to alert the driver to stop where they wish to be dropped off.”