Controlled and phased return of council A2B dial a bus service begins this month
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Aberdeenshire Council is preparing to re-introduce a number of A2B dial a bus services operated by its own fleet of minibuses in a controlled and phased manner from the end of October onwards.
Services were suspended at the outbreak of Covid-19, with only the Central Buchan A2B dial-a-bus operated by Kininmonth Cabs currently running.
The first services announced to be implemented will be Turriff Town and Rural A2B, followed by Westhill A2B, however other A2B service users should be aware that it might take some time before all minibuses are operating again.
Reintroduction and operation of services will take into account the current fluid Covid-19 situation, so plans may be subject to change in all cases.
Services also require to be redesigned to mitigate against the risk of Covid-19 spreading and will be subject to the prevailing government guidance.
The following safety measures are to be introduced on all resumed services:
• Customers using the A2B dial-a-bus services must wear a face covering unless exempt
• 1m+ distancing will be enforced on the vehicle apart from people from the same household
• Enhanced vehicle cleaning will be undertaken during the day
• Drivers will wear PPE if helping passengers
Councillor Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, said: “This will be very welcome news for many of our communities and, while there will be some fairly significant changes to the services, I know residents will be keen to start making good use of our A2B buses once again.”
Vice-chair John Cox said: “We appreciate the impact the temporary suspension of services as a result of Covid-19 has had on our towns and villages - particularly in the more rural areas – so I am delighted to see them making a phased return.”
Ewan Wallace, Head of Transportation, said: “While we are now in a position to reintroduce some of our A2B services, it must be stressed that this is not a return to a full normal service.
“The new measures mean that fewer people can travel at the same time and there will be less time available for operating trips.
" Our services will be more time-tabled and all trips will need to be pre-booked at least the day before travelling.
"The re-introduced services will be monitored and adjusted as necessary in the light of experience.”
Aberdeenshire Council aims to contact registered A2B customers in due course as and when their particular service is re-introduced to advise them of the new arrangements.
As A2B services are reintroduced, details will be available at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/public-transport/A2B-dial-a-bus/