Supported bus service cuts take effect from Monday, Gardenstown and Braemar services get reprieve

Cuts to poorly performing council-supported bus services will take effect from Monday (April 15), but two of those have received a reprieve after work to accommodate community feedback.

The Saturday service between Banff and Gardenstown/Fraserburgh and the Sunday service between Ballater and Braemar will now continue.

They were due to be removed due to budget pressures within the transportation service, having been identified as amongst the least value for money.

However, budget has been found to allow a continuation of the services for now.

Local communities are now encouraged to make use of them – passenger numbers will continue to be monitored to assess value for money.

The Gardenstown service will run until at least March 31 next year, with no change in the current arrangements.

Stagecoach is also extending a number of Monday to Friday journeys on the same service to/from Chalmers Hospital/Health Centre.

On Deeside, the Sunday service between Ballater and Braemar will continue by means of a shuttle bus, which will run throughout this summer until the end of September.

Information on usage and feedback on the service will be used to determine any further continuation.

Aberdeenshire Council's Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: "This process has been all about operating within the budgets we have available, whilst minimising the impact for individuals and communities where possible.

“The routes selected for service withdrawals and reductions were chosen primarily because they were not being used as well as would be expected, to justify the money spent by the council to support them.

“However, in the case of both Gardenstown and Ballater/Braemar, there were strong feelings in the community about the adverse impact on the local area.

“We have listened to that and adapted our plans as best we could – hopefully these services will now be better used than before.

“In due course we will conduct a further review of the way the council supports all bus services across Aberdeenshire, to ensure we are using the available money in the most effective way possible.”

All other supported bus service cuts previously publicised will take effect from Monday as planned, with the exception of the following journeys which will be continued on a commercial basis by Stagecoach:

Service 35: 1915 hours from Aberdeen to Whitehills (Monday to Friday)
Service 35: 2133 hours from Banff to Aberdeen (Monday to Friday)
Service 68: 0725 hours from Mintlaw to Fraserburgh (Monday to Friday)
Service 201: 0750 hours from Aberdeen to Ballater (Sunday)
Service 201: 2245 hours from Aberdeen to Ballater (Sunday)

You can see in detail the services/routes affected by the changes on the council’s website: http://bit.ly/2MMNiTi