Councillors raise bus concerns

Local SNP Councillors Allan Hendry (Mid Formartine) and Rob Merson (Ellon & District) met earlier this week with Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director and Chris Cartmel, Operations Manager of Stagecoach Bluebird, to discuss the rising number of complaints from commuters in the Aberdeen to Ellon corridor with regard to punctuality.

During a meeting described afterwards as ‘constructive’, it emerged that the bus operator is aware of the problems, which have particularly affected the early morning services to Aberdeen from Ellon and Balmedie, and that a change of timetable is planned to combat the problem, with effect from 12th March.

Commenting on the meeting, Cllr. Hendry remarked:

“It would appear that the problem has primarily arisen due to the extension of the morning peak travel period. Whereas we could once speak in terms of a ‘rush hour’, there is no question that more of us are starting out earlier or later in the day to avoid traffic. Although that perhaps results in shorter traffic queues, they are being experienced over a longer period, and that is having an impact on bus journey times.

“The volume of early-morning traffic is also such that any obstacle to traffic flow has a knock-on effect, be that a vehicle break-down or, as recently, the roadworks on King Street”.

Cllr. Merson added:

“I have been experiencing far less complaints from bus users following the changes which were made in the last service revision, but the 262 service has been an ongoing problem. I am pleased that Stagecoach Bluebird is addressing the matter in their new timetable. Although that can only be achieved by extending some of the journey times to reflect the prevailing traffic conditions, it should result in a more punctual and dependable service for commuters.”

Details of the new timetable are available at: http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk//publictransport/timetables/detail.asp?ServiceID=266

The next meeting of Aberdeenshire Bus Forum is at 7.30pm on 21st March at Meldrum Academy, and is open to all.