Several supported bus services to be reintroduced in Aberdeenshire
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Aberdeenshire Council has announced the reintroduction of several of its supported bus services as of next month.
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Services were originally withdrawn in May of this year to help the local authority realise crucial savings of £245,000 in the current financial year.
However 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That has enabled the council to reinstate the vast majority of the withdrawn journeys and services from October 4.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 Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, 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 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.”
Journey & Service Re-instatements with effect from October 4 -
5A/6A Echt/Westhill - Aberdeen, 6.49am ex Echt - Westhill and 6.41pm ex Westhill - Echt (both Monday to Friday) plus 6.05am ex Westhill to Aberdeen (Saturday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
64 Blackdog - Aberdeen, Monday and Thursday interpeak service operated by Central Taxis Aberdeen
66 Stuartfield - Mintlaw – Peterhead, 8pm ex Peterhead (Monday to Friday) and 8.36pm ex Stuartfield (Monday to Friday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
69 Fraserburgh - Inverallochy - St Combs, 10.25pm ex St Combs - Fraserburgh (Saturday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird
76/77 Fraserburgh Town Service - 6.20pm 6.50pm and 9.15pm ex Broad Street (Monday to Friday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird
81 Peterhead - Boddam, 5.18am ex Peterhead and 11.23pm ex Boddam (Monday to Friday) operated by Stagecoach Bluebird
201 Aberdeen - Aboyne - Braemar, Sunday service between Ballater and Braemar operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
Please note that this is already in operation
248 New Byth - Fyvie - Inverurie, Thursday interpeak return journey operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
270 New Pitsligo - Fraserburgh, Saturday service operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
273 Banff - Gardenstown – Fraserburgh, Saturday service operated by Watermill Coaches.
405 Banff - Fordyce - Cullen, Friday interpeak service operated by Deveron Coaches.
This reinstates the twice weekly service as Wednesday interpeak service already operated by Deveron Coaches
452 Fraserburgh - Inverurie, Tuesday interpeak return journey operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
473 Gardenstown – Fraserburgh, Tuesday interpeak return journey operated by Aberdeenshire Council.