Outrage over Ellon bus service changes

The number 65 bus which is to be merged with the 62 route commencing on May 5
The number 65 bus which is to be merged with the 62 route commencing on May 5

Bus users and local politicians have condemned proposals to scrap the Ellon town service and merge it with a bigger route.

Stagecoach plan to withdraw the number 65 bus route and combine it with the number 62 which goes to Aberdeen, starting from May 5.

But the move has provoked anger among passengers on the town route.

The Times spoke to a number of regular bus users this week.

One woman told us: “The drivers on the number 65 buses are always really friendly and helpful.

“It’s always reliable and on time. It would be a terrible shame for a lot of people if it was to be lost.”

Ellon Times, Jack Nixon columnist, a regular passenger on the route, is disappointed about the proposals.

He said: “Stagecoach are to be commended for consulting the public in respect of changing the Ellon town service. “I just hope they will take aboard the comments of users who in the main are very unhappy about losing a valuable service in the community.

“Replacing the number 65 bus with a large 62 bus is to offer a failed service that will not be able to run to time.

“I urge the management of the company to re-visit the proposal and stick with the existing reliable one.

“I predict that they will be facing an angry, let down public in a few months time if the new proposals on this route go ahead.”

Ellon and District Councillor Gillian Owen said: “I am really disappointed that Stagecoach have decided to withdraw the 65.

“This service can be a lifeline for old and young people.

“Even in this day and age, not all families or households have transport and the bus is their means of transport. Stagecoach North Scotland managing director, Steve Walker, said: “As part of a network review commencing on May 5, route 65 is to be merged with the 62, still providing a town service, which further extends to Aberdeen.

“Unfortunately the town service alone was not commercially viable due to low usage and combining the routes in this manner will ensure our resources are used effectively to provide both a town and commuter service.

“We held a 3 week consultation period back in February in respect to these suggestions, the event in Ellon sadly was not well attended, however the information was also available on our website from which we received numerous supporting comments for these proposals which have now been confirmed.

“We are confident that the changes will improve reliability of our services in the area and can be sustained longer term through the popularity of our commuter routes into Aberdeen. As with any network changes we will monitoring passenger use and reliability closely following these changes.”

Stagecoach are holding the next Bus Forum meeting on Monday, March 31 at Ellon Community Centre Room 3, from 7.30pm to 9pm.