MP urges council rethink over Donside bus service

MP Andrew Bowie has written to council  officials about withdrawal of the bus service
MP Andrew Bowie has written to council officials about withdrawal of the bus service

Aberdeenshire Council is being urged to review the decision to withdraw the A2B Dial-a-Bus service between Strathdon and Alford.

The link currently operates on a weekly basis between the two communities, but is due to be cut from August 17.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie said he had been contacted by constituents who will be affected by the loss of the service, and he has written to the local authority’s head of transportation.

He said: “I fully understand that council budgets are tight at the moment. I can also appreciate that this bus route may not be heavily used.

“However, it is regarded as a vital service for those who rely on the bus to get to Alford each week.

“We are talking here about people in a rural area who may not have access to any other form of transport.”

The council’s head of transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “Unfortunately the running costs for the service are very high and there are a low number of passengers currently using it.

“Recent data shows that the average cost per person is nearly £30 for each single passenger trip, which is poor value for money.

“The transport co-ordinator for Silver Circle, a Strathdon charity which provides a local mini bus service, has confirmed passengers affected by the withdrawal are very welcome to use their service.

“The school bus from Alford to Strathdon will continue to run as a local bus service for the public.”