It’s my Opinion

IF partnerships are to remain important to those in authority in Aberdeenshire, it is surely time for something to be done about major issues facing bus users in the area.

From what I can gather Stagecoach are one of the big boys of the bus industry, and are in partnership with the local council, though given lack of commercial acumen in the ranks in the same council, they are unlikely to be equal partners.

They are, nevertheless, in a position to represent the interests of users. If they fail in this basic area of involvement then I genuinely cannot see what other impact they can have on one of the giants of the industry.

Speaking as customer of some considerable experience. I use the local and Aberdeen bound buses on a regular basis, which is much, much more than the elected members I know.

Indeed I will forever recall the ignorance of one local councillor who at a bus forum meeting indicated that his job as a councillor was ‘too important for him to use buses.’

The biggest issue for users is the fact that Stagecoach are using old rolling stock to serve the Ellon area, which over the winter months has led to numerous breakdowns.

These breakdowns pose considerable inconvenience to the Aberdeen bound workforce some of whom have had to make telephone calls to family and friends to be picked up at the roadside in order to get to work on time. For others not able to ring from a stricken bus, it can mean long, cold delays, which for a commercial company of the size of Stagecoach is a totally unacceptable situation.

I feel equally sorry for the drivers who in the main are extremely apologetic about the service.

For reasons best known to the company the worst affected route is the 62 one, which as regular users will know serves the Ellon area, including Esslemont and Meiklemill before it heads for Aberdeen.

Last week I was in Aberdeen for a meeting, and while I was not late for my appointment I had the uncomfortable experience of standing all the way from Ellon to the city centre. For the record this was on the Fraserburgh to Aberdeen route. At 10.25am on a week day I would not have expected to be treating in such a manner.

In general the service is good, though when it is bad, it is truly appalling.

So over to you Aberdeenshire, it’s surely not beyond your collective wit in partnership with the public to sort out the travel issues on the bus routes in the area north of Aberdeen.

Talking of partnerships I was fascinated by the lack of camaraderie displayed by some of the soccer fraternity towards the rugby one last week when it was suggested that Pittodrie should never again be used for playing rugby.

The arguement was based on the pitch being unfit for quality football after Scotland played Samoa last November.

Now there’s a laugh for when was quality football last played at the home of Aberdeen Football Club? 1983?