Stagecoach North Scotland today announced new timetables for Aberdeenshire and Moray to begin on Monday 8th May 2017.
During a public consultation in March the local bus operator received over 600 comments from residents in the local communities both from events held locally and online feedback. Such was the level of response the company has taken more time to reflect and analyse the comments before confirming their proposals. The new timetables will now commence on Monday 8th May.
The new £15.2m Craibstone Park and Ride will welcome service 37 (Inverurie - Kintore - Blackburn - Aberdeen) up to every 30 minutes from Monday 8th May. Residents in Kintore will also benefit from the introduction of service X20 Monday - Saturday providing new connections to Aberdeen as well as connections to Kemnay and Alford.
From the same date, service 727 will stop serving the Craibstone P&R. Instead, in response to the requests of customers and stakeholders, the 727 will return to its previous serving Dyce Drive in both directions as the bus travels to and from Aberdeen Airport. Reverting back to this route will improve connections to the many businesses and hotels in the area - as well as re-establishing the fast and direct route between Aberdeen International Airport, Aberdeen City Centre and Union Square.
Service 80 from Aberdeen Airport to Kirkhill Industrial Estate via Dyce Rail Station will be withdrawn as a result of low passenger use following decline in the oil and gas industry.
Changes are also being made to bus services between Stonehaven and Aberdeen with an amended route through Portlethen. The frequency between Portlethen and Aberdeen will be revised to every 20 minutes Monday - Saturday with an hourly service on Sundays. Customers in Stonehaven will also benefit from the introduction of new X7 journeys between Stonehaven and Aberdeen which increases the frequency of fast and direct journeys between Stonehaven and Aberdeen to three buses per hour Monday - Saturday. Local services in Stonehaven will also be revised and see the introduction of a brand new service 4 which will replace existing service 106.
Service X17 will begin serving more of the expanding Prime Four Business Park in the morning and evening peaks from 8th May 2017. The introduction of peak journeys around the business park will make bus travel a more attractive option to those commuting to Aberdeen's only world-class business park from the city centre.
Residents in Kingswells will also welcome the new 220 service which will allow them to connect to Westhill and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Monday - Friday. As well as making onward connections to Aberdeen city centre at ARI with over 10 Stagecoach buses an hour connecting the hospital to the city centre on weekdays (using services 10/37/35/59), connections to the city centre are also possible at Kingswells Park and Ride using service X17.
Services in Elgin are also to be revised following the public consultation. Cross-city connections will be re-instated from Pinefield/Manitoba to Lossiemouth via Elgin on service 33. Service 31 and 30 will be withdrawn without replacement in Elgin city due to extremely low passenger use. Service 36 is to be revised and will connect Dufftown to Burghead via Elgin.
Due to the revision of service 36 and as a result of the feedback received in the consultation a new service will be introduced connecting Findhorn and Kinloss to Forres. The new service will provide links for residents in Findhorn and Kinloss to the Forres Medical Centre and Tesco. Customers will be able to make onward travel to Elgin and Inverness in Forres using Service 10 and the improved Service 11.
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director, Stagecoach North Scotland said: “We were delighted with the level of feedback we received in the public consultation in March. This just demonstrates that there continues to be a huge demand for our services and it is essential that our local authorities continue to recognise the role that the bus plays in helping connect our communities. Assistance from our local authorities providing further priorities for buses is required to help increase the appeal of bus travel to new customers.
"Unfortunately some of our changes, whilst reflecting lower patronage levels as the economy has declined as well as changes in social habit with more home working and online shopping reducing the number of trips people take, are a result of needing to provide more time for journeys. Congestion continues to be one of our most significant challenges in operating services reliably.
"As we have been able to listen to customer feedback to shape our finalised plans we really hope that we will see more people using the bus for their travel requirements. We continue to offer excellent value fares on our services, with 7 days travel available from just £8.30* as well as a range of discounted longer term tickets for regular customers."
Timetables for services from 8th May are now available online at stagecoachbus.com and printed copies will be available in travel shops now.
*7 day ticket price based on Elgin city zone. 7 day travel in Aberdeen city is £12.00.
Revisions summary -
· Improvements to bus connections between Aberdeen and Stonehaven. Service X6 will be replaced with new X7 journeys, operated by Stagecoach Bluebird. These will be offered in addition to the X7 journeys operated by Stagecoach East Scotland. Service 7A/7B/7C will be replaced with a simplified 7/7B service - as part of this change the route in Portlethen and Stonehaven will be modified to be more consistent.
· Westhill - Aberdeen service X17 will become a 15 minute frequency at peak times, and a diversion to Prime Four Business Park will be introduced in the peaks.
· Some early morning and late evening journeys on services 10 and 35 to be withdrawn in response to low passenger use.
· Service X18 will be replaced by service 217, 218 and 220. Service 220 will serve Kingswells Monday - Friday.
· Inverurie - Aberdeen service 37 will be revised to a frequency of every 30 mins Monday - Friday and will operate via Craibstone Park & Ride.
· Alford - Kemnay - Aberdeen service X20 will see some minor timing revisions and some journeys will begin serving Kintore.
· Aberdeen Airport service 727 will be revised returning to previous route and will no longer serve Craibstone Park and Ride.
· Service 80 - Kirkhill Industrial Estate to Aberdeen Airport will be withdrawn due to low passenger use.
· Service 66 - Peterhead - Stuartfield will reduce in frequency.
· Service 10 and 35 - as above.
· Service 11/11A will be revised to operate every 30 minutes.
· Service 30 in Elgin city will be withdrawn due to extremely low passenger use.
· Service 31 in Elgin city will be withdrawn and replaced by service 33.
· Service 32 will be withdrawn and replaced by a revised service 36 allowing customers to connect to the New Elgin retail area.
· Service 33 will be revised to operate a 20 minute frequency from Lossiemouth to Pinefield and New Elgin via Elgin. The section of route from Lesmurdie Road to Newmill Road will be withdrawn due to low passenger use.
· Service 36 operate between Dufftown - Elgin - Burghead.
· NEW Service 31 will be introduced connecting Findhorn and Kinloss to Forres to replace the withdrawn section of service 36.
· Service 34 and 38 are not revised from 8th May.
All timetables can be viewed and downloaded here