Bus Partnership review draws further commitment from Aberdeenshire
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Councillors unanimously agreed that Aberdeenshire Council should continue to participate in the North East of Scotland Bus Alliance for a further two years.
The council’s Passenger Transport Manager, Richard McKenzie, speaking at a meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee said the over-riding aim of the partnership was to stabilise and reverse the decline in bus patronage across the North-east of Scotland.
Members were advised that the current voluntary partnership comprises Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, Nestrans, Bains Coaches, First Aberdeen, and Stagecoach
Mr McKenzie said the importance of collaborative working on public transport was even more important given the current impacts of Covid-19.
He said the strong network across the Alliance partners had already aided the response to the Covid-19 emergency and will assist in the recovery planning.
Councillor Peter Argyle remarked that the Alliance was a very important partnership for the council to be a part of, reminding committee that it had undertaken a comprehensive study which highlighted issues facing the delivery of bus services in the North-east.
He said it was; "More important than ever that this work picks up pace as we ease out of lockdown and resume the use of public transport" – a point echoed by councillor David Aichison who highlighted that the two-year participation would cover the Covid-19 recovery stages which were sure to prove challenging.
Members also agreed that an additional request from councillor Paul Johnston be passed to the Alliance at its next forum to investigate the future procurement of vehicles with internal layouts which adequately suit the requirements of passengers on main routes.
Councillors gave examples of how the design of some buses were seriously hampering the elderly, people with disabilities or mobility issues and young mothers with pushchairs.
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