Additional funding sees reintroduction of supported bus services across Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire Council is reintroducting its supported bus services as of next week.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 6:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 6:51 am
Additional funding as allowed the council to reinstate supported bus services.
Additional funding as allowed the council to reinstate supported bus services.

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Services were originally withdrawn in May of this year to help the local authority.

In June, 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That has enabled the council to reinstate the vast majority of the withdrawn journeys and services from Monday, October 4.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 (Peterhead/Ellon–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.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, 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.”

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox 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.”

Reinstatements affecting Deeside:

5A/6A Echt/Westhill - Aberdeen

0649 hrs ex Echt - Westhill and 1841 hrs ex Westhill - Echt (both Monday-Friday) plus 0605 hrs ex Westhill to Aberdeen (Saturday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird

64 Blackdog - Aberdeen

Monday and Thursday interpeak service operated by Central Taxis Aberdeen

201 Aberdeen - Aboyne - Braemar

Sunday service between Ballater and Braemar operated by Stagecoach Bluebird (already in operation)

Other services being reinstated:

66 Stuartfield - Mintlaw – Peterhead

69 Fraserburgh - Inverallochy - St Combs

76/77 Fraserburgh Town Service

81 Peterhead - Boddam

248 New Byth - Fyvie - Inverurie

270 New Pitsligo - Fraserburgh

273 Banff - Gardenstown – Fraserburgh

405 Banff - Fordyce - Cullen

452 Fraserburgh - Inverurie

473 Gardenstown – Fraserburgh