Aberdeenshire Council set to restore bus services

Aberdeenshire Council has announced the reintroduction of its supported bus services as of next month.

By Kevin McRoberts
Friday, 1st October 2021, 8:10 am
A number of bus services across Aberdeenshire will be restored from the beginning of next week.

The decision comes in light of increased financial support for local bus services as a result of the revised final funding package from the Scottish Government and subsequent changes to the council’s own 2021/22 budget.

Services were originally withdrawn in May of this year to help the local authority realise savings of £245,000 in the current financial year.

However in June, the Full Council agreed a revised 2021/22 Revenue Budget which resulted in an additional £120,000 for local bus services during the current financial year and a further £120,000 in 2022/23.

That has enabled the council to reinstate the vast majority of the withdrawn journeys and services from this Monday, October 4.

It will also enable services to undertake a more considered evaluation of the routes’ performance in a post Covid-19 scenario, as pre-pandemic passenger data had been used in the original evaluation and the bus market has evolved significantly during this period.

The single route not being reintroduced is Service 747 between Peterhead, Ellon and Dyce, which, given the small number of passengers affected, the considerable service delivery costs and the availability of alternative commercial bus services, was not considered viable.

Councillor Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “I am delighted we have been able to fund the resumption of our supported bus services from October.

"While I appreciate the impact the temporary halting had on users across our communities, the combination of serious budget pressures and changing travel patterns arising from Covid makes the provision of bus services extremely challenging.

"I do hope people will make use of these restored services.”

Councillor John Cox, the committee’s vice-chair, added: “It is important to stress that the performance of these resumed services and the remainder of the supported bus network will continue to be monitored during the Covid recovery period and will be amended as appropriate in response to the evolving market demand.”

The following services are being reinstated:

• 5A/6A Echt/Westhill-Aberdeen 0649 hrs ex Echt-Westhill and 1841 hrs ex Westhill-Echt (both Monday to Friday) plus 0605 hrs ex Westhill to Aberdeen (Saturday).

• 64 Blackdog-Aberdeen Monday and Thursday interpeak service.

• 66 Stuartfield-Mintlaw-Peterhead 2000 hrs ex Peterhead (Monday to Friday) and 2036 hrs ex Stuartfield (Monday to Friday).

• 69 Fraserburgh-Inverallochy-St Combs 2225 hrs ex St Combs-Fraserburgh (Saturday).

• 76/77 Fraserburgh Town Service 1820 hrs, 1850 hrs and 2115 hrs ex Broad Street (Monday to Friday).

• 81 Peterhead-Boddam 0518 hrs ex Peterhead and 2323 hrs ex Boddam (Monday to Friday).

• 201 Aberdeen-Aboyne-Braemar Sunday service between Ballater and Braemar. Please note that this is already in operation.

• 248 New Byth-Fyvie-Inverurie Thursday interpeak return journey.

• 270 New Pitsligo-Fraserburgh Saturday service.

• 273 Banff-Gardenstown-Fraserburgh Saturday service.

• 405 Banff-Fordyce-Cullen Friday interpeak service. This reinstates the twice weekly service as Wednesday interpeak service already operated by Deveron Coaches.

• 452 Fraserburgh-Inverurie Tuesday interpeak return journey.

473 Gardenstown-Fraserburgh Tuesday interpeak return journey run by Aberdeenshire Council.