Stagecoach is inviting customers across the Moray area to provide feedback on new bus timetable proposals to commence 8th January 2017.
The local bus operator has continued to assess and review the network, looking at the punctuality, reliability and usage of the routes particularly during the busy morning and afternoon peak periods. Customer feedback has also influenced the proposals with the proposed re-introduction of a bus service to Lesmurdie Road in Elgin and improved service to Forres Enterprise Park.
Proposed timetables for the services from January have been developed with reliability and customer feedback at the forefront. The company is encouraging customers to have a look at the proposals and share their thoughts, whether in support of the revisions or by highlighting any concerns.
Proposals include the re-routing of service 10 to serve Forres Enterprise Park on all journeys and the introduction of a new service 34 which will see a bus service re-instated to Lesmurdie Road and Fraser Avenue in Elgin connecting to both Tesco and the bus station.
Other proposals include a revised Service 11 which is proposed to serve Lochloy and Queens Park, providing more residential areas in Nairn with a direct connection to Inverness and Inverness Airport. Connections between Elgin and Inverness Airport will still be available by connecting in Nairn.
It is proposed that Service 33 will reduce in frequency to every 30 minutes. This will provide a more reliable service for the local communities and provides a more sustainable service for the long-term. The service will terminate at Manitoba in Elgin and continue to operate alternatively in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction in Lossiemouth.
Service 38 will be revised to serve Reiket Lane, Pinefield Crescent and Pinefield Parade to continue providing a direct link between Pinefield and Elgin.
Services connecting Dufftown and Burghead with Elgin will see minor revisions, with the Burghead to Elgin Service reverting to the 32 Service, whilst Dufftown reverts to the 36 Service.
The route service 35 operates when arriving into and leaving Elgin is proposed to be revised to improve punctuality on this service, which continues to provide connections between Elgin and Aberdeen. On journeys to Elgin, the service will operate along East Road, Maisondieu Road, Station Road, Hay Road and Alexandra Road to the Bus Station. On leaving the bus station, services will operate along Alexandra Road, South College Street and East Road. It is proposed that customers will be able to board journeys from the Railway Station and College as the bus arrives into Elgin to maintain these important connections.
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director, Stagecoach North Scotland said: “Following constructive customer feedback in our March 2017 timetable consultation in Moray we have again released our plans for 2018 timetables ahead of finalising for registration. We found the comments that were received during that consultation very useful in refining our plans. Developing these proposals, we have reviewed all the feedback we have received from customers regarding our network in Elgin, including concerns that we were unable to address in changes introduced in May this year. We are particularly pleased to have identified a solution to the withdrawal of the bus service in Lesmurdie and are pleased to be able to share our proposals for service 34 to Lesmurdie.”
“We’re asking our customers and indeed prospective customers to let us know what they think, so we can take any comments on board before we finalise our plans.”
“The changes we have seen across the whole of Scotland with declining passenger numbers is linked to a range of issues, such as the decline in the economy and the cost of motoring, which is the biggest competitor to a bus service, also becoming relatively cheaper. The increase in online shopping, more attractive car finance deals and a wider range of flexible working patterns are all having an impact on our services. Customer feedback is therefore critical to us to make sure our services operate when people need them most. We need to attract more people to use the bus in our local areas to protect the services that we are able to provide today.”
In addition, the company is holding consultation events in the area giving customers the opportunity to speak to local staff about the proposals. Events are planned to take place in Elgin, Forres and Nairn between 14th to 16th November.
14th November Elgin Bus Station, 9am - 12pm
15th November Forres (Location TBC), 9am - 12pm
16th November Nairn Bus Terminal, 9am - 12pm
At the events customers will be able to pass on their feedback and gain answers to any questions regarding the proposed schedules.
Mr Whitelocks added: “It is naturally challenging to try to please everyone when we are making changes, and we do live in challenging times. But we hope the local communities remember at the start of this year we were able to maintain the bus service to Kinloss following feedback received during the consultation earlier this year. Today we are also proposing to re-introduce what we hope will be a sustainable service to Lesmurdie Road and Fraser Avenue. This demonstrates that we do listen to the feedback we receive from the local communities we operate in. We are prepared to make changes to our plans where we can see there is adequate demand for our services to cover the costs of providing them."
The proposed timetables and network maps are now available to view here, all feedback is welcomed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All feedback received by 17th November will be considered ahead of plans being finalised.