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Stagecoach scraps two Moray bus services, affecting Findhorn route and Keith commuters

By Lewis McBlane

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TWO Moray bus routes are being scrapped by Stagecoach, in sweeping cuts to local services which could lead to redundancies.

Elgin Bus Station.
Elgin Bus Station.

Announced yesterday, the cuts will mean that Findhorn will lose its only service bus, the number 32, from August 19.

Instead, the service will start at Elgin and terminate at Burghead.

And the peak-time M98 service, between Elgin and Keith, is also being scrapped.

Along with scrapping routes, the company also warned that some “engineering functions” moved from its Elgin depot to Inverness.

Two depots in Aberdeenshire could close as part of the plans.

Stagecoach said the changes came through an ongoing review of operations in North Scotland, as the firm was “unable to cover the cost” of its service routes.

However, the bus operator added, it continues to “hope to be able to mitigate the number of redundancies”.

Also included in the review are plans to stop the 35 bus, the coastal route between Inverness and Aberdeen, running between Inverness and Elgin.

In its place a new service, number 12, will run between Inverness and Elgin and stop at Grant Drive in Thornhill - bypassing Auldearn.

The company said the decision came due to financial pressure stemming from tender losses, reduced passenger demand and higher costs.

Stagecoach has met with staff and trade union representatives, launching a consultation with employees about the potential closure of depots in Stonehaven and Insch depots.

They say they are “working closely with the trade unions” through a period of consultation and hope to be able to mitigate the number of redundancies.

Employees at the site will be able to discuss their preferences with the management team and the company will be working hard to accommodate these over the coming weeks.

The company added that they plan to discuss the changes with Moray Council and other Local Authorities.

Highland services will not be changing, other than Bluebird Services serving the A96.

The company said it would keep customers updated on developments as the review process continues.

David Beaton, Managing Director for Stagecoach North Scotland said: “We are a significant local employer and we understand the importance of bus services for the local community.

“We also know that any change can be unsettling for our people.

“That’s why we are working closely with both the trade union to protect as many jobs and as much of the local bus services as possible.

“We’re carrying out a consultation and will be working closely with staff during this process, however the reality is that we simply cannot sustain the current operation.”

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