Uncertain future for Oldmeldrum bus firm

Calls have been made for the Scottish Government to implement a discounted ticket scheme to help independent bus companies after a north-east firm revealed its income had dropped by 80% this year.

Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 10:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 10:40 am
Dougie Bain, owner of Bains Coaches, has met with Stewart Whyte to discuss the problems facing his firm. Mr Whyte, in turn, has written a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Bain’s Coaches of Oldmeldrum has said it’s seriously concerned about its future after a drop in services and customers due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A reduction in services as well as having no income from private charters have forced the company into an uncertain future.

Owner Dougie Bain met with Scottish Conservative candidate for East Aberdeenshire Stewart Whyte to outline his concerns over the future.

Mr Whyte has now written to Nicola Sturgeon urging new initiatives such as a discounted ticket scheme to be introduced and for tourism venues to extend their seasons past October to encourage staycation trips.

In his letter, he said: “Bain’s are a financially careful and a well-run business that have not had to use their overdraft facility for many years, until now. Their revenue is down 80% on last year and they have seen very little pick up since lockdown has eased.

“I would be very grateful if the Scottish Government gave serious thought to how to support the sector.

“The most obvious and fair intervention is to use some of the additional £1.9 billion to provide grants which independent bus companies can apply for to help tide them over.

“A big plea from the family was an end to the SNP Government discouraging people from using public transport. Instead, a positive and active campaign of reassuring the public to use public transport would be very helpful.”

Employing 30 people, Bain’s has been in business for 45 years and has a fleet of 30 buses and five taxis.

Dougie Bain said he is worried about the future of the firm if revenues continued to remain low.

He said: “We have been a successful local business especially during these past 20 years, but the pandemic has floored us.

“I have not needed the bank’s overdraft for a long time but at the moment it is the only thing keeping us going”