Focus on bus services

A bus forum will be held in Ellon on Monday, April 29.
A bus forum will be held in Ellon on Monday, April 29.

BUS users in the Formartine area have been urged to attend a forum later this month to discuss the local service.

The meeting, organised by Aberdeenshire Council, will be held in Ellon when members of the public are likely to ask about late running of buses, changes to services, additional stops, attitude of drivers, and a host of other queries.

Area bus forums were established in Spring 2000 in each of the council’s six administrative areas to act as the principal focus for consultation on public transport issues. The Ellon meeting is the final one in a series held over recent weeks.

Regular bus user Ray Kenyon, of Newburgh, said: “Those bus users among us, for both work and pleasure, know the frustration it causes when a scheduled bus is either late or does not turn up at all.

“Few explanations are given by the bus company in question although they themselves say that when such occurrences take place the public should bring it to the attention of the providers, quoting location, service number, dates and time. They are also interested to know if a particular bus was running early.”

The Ellon meeting is likely to attract a bigger than usual attendance, given that the bulk of users are from the town.

James Roebuck, of Barratt Road, Ellon, also urged as many people as possible to attend.

He said: “Bus services in general are quite good. In particular we have an excellent, regular service between Ellon and Aberdeen, but it’s when you get off the main routes that it starts to go wrong.

“Having a say on our bus services is absolutely critical, especially when to my knowledge most of the officials from Aberdeenshire Council who deal with the service do not use a bus.

“We really must keep up the pressure to ensure we get satisfaction on all routes.

“It is after all supposed to be a partnership involving customers, the providers and the council. I would urge all customers to get along on April 29 and ensure they make their individual points known.”

The meeting comes at a significant time, as this week a number of adjustments were made to local bus routes, not least being another change of numbers on buses.

In Ellon town it is likely that the changes will include small buses operating on local routes rather than larger ones, including double deckers.

The move has been welcomed by Mr Roebuck who said: “It would make sense to save drivers the hassle of taking big buses round inappropriate and unsuitable routes.

“These are the kind of issues we want to discuss at the meeting in a positive way, which would benefit us all. I am fed with all the speculative talk I hear at bus stops.”

The bus meeting will be held in Ellon Community Centre, Room 3, on Monday, April 29, at 7.30pm

Updates on services are available online at http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/publictransport/forums.asp