Stagecoach confirm changes to local services

Following consultation and input by local residents and councillors, the council’s Public Transport Unit (PTU) have provided a summary of the Stagecoach revisions which will commence on 8th May 2017. They say “the company has implemented a small number of additional changes (highlighted in red) in response to comments and complaints received both at their own public consultation events and at the Council’s Area Bus Forums. Council officers have also requested minor changes to contracted journeys to improve connections for passengers and also respond to public requests. The PTU continues “However, overall, you will see that there are cuts to commercial services on the A947 (service 35), A96 (services 10/37), A944 (services X17/X18) and A90 (south) (services 7/7A/7B/7C) corridors and this is cause for concern. Stagecoach have confirmed that the changes are primarily to tailor levels of service with current passenger demand, which has been falling over the last 2 years, in order to ensure commercial viability, whilst improving service reliability by implementing more realistic journey/layover times.”

I have included all the service changes, not just our local ones, so the full range can be appreciated.

Summary of Stagecoach Bluebird Timetable Changes, 08 May 2017

4A/4C (currently 106)

Stonehaven Town Service

Replaces the hourly Monday to Saturday inter-peak Service 106 (Stonehaven Town Service), contracted to the Council.

  • New service is half-hourly Monday to Saturday inter-peak with alternate journeys (4A and 4C) operating in the opposite direction and it will connect with mainline services to/from Aberdeen at Barclay Street.
  • Aberdeenshire Council will continue to financially support 50% of the service.
  • Timing changes of up to 15 minutes.

7, 7A, 7B, 7C, X7

Aberdeen – Portlethen/Newtonhill/Stonehaven

Stonehaven – the mainline service will no longer serve areas to the west of the two railway bridges, with buses only serving the Thomson Terrace and Forest Park areas. To compensate for this, the Town service is enhanced as Service 4A/4C above, serving Farrochie and Edinview areas.

  • 0718 hours ex Spurryhillock – Barclay Street – Aberdeen (Monday – Friday) is re-instated in response to requests received at the Kincardine and Mearns Area Bus Forum.
  • Marywell Park will be served hourly instead of half-hourly.
  • Frequency reduced from 15 mins to 20 mins between Aberdeen and Portlethen, but there will be a consistent route with all buses serving Schoolhill, Asda, Portlethen Academy and Berrymuir Road.
  • Buses will operate hourly between Aberdeen and Newtonhill, instead of every half-hour.

10

Aberdeen – Inverurie – Huntly – Elgin – Inverness

0550 hours ex Aberdeen – Inverness (Monday to Saturday) is truncated to commence in Huntly.

  • 1730 hrs ex Aberdeen – Insch (Monday to Friday) is truncated to commence from Inverurie, A connection is available with Service 37 (Aberdeen – Inverurie).
  • 2220 hours ex Aberdeen – Elgin (Monday to Saturday) is withdrawn. There is a 2150 hours ex Aberdeen – Inverurie (Service 37).
  • 2300 hours last bus from Aberdeen to Elgin (Monday to Sunday) will also serve Blackburn, Kintore and Inverurie, compensating for the withdrawal of a Service 37 journey (see below).
  • 0539 hours ex Elgin – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday) is advanced by 32 minutes to depart at 0507 hours.
  • 1725 hours ex Inverness – Aberdeen (Monday to Saturday) is truncated to terminate in Huntly. There are alternative departures at 1625 hours and 1825 hours.
  • 2025 hours from Inverness – Aberdeen (Monday to Saturday) is withdrawn, meaning that the last southbound bus is at 1825 hours.
  • New Sunday journey: 0947 hours ex Elgin – Aberdeen.
  • Timing changes of up to 14 minutes.

X17

Aberdeen – Westhill – Elrick

Reduced frequency from 12 minutes to 15 minutes Mon – Sat. Stagecoach advises that this will improve reliability with the same vehicle resources, the 12 minute frequency being impossible to maintain due to congestion. No change to Sunday service.

X20/420

Alford – Kemnay – Aberdeen

With the aim of commercially viability, whilst compensating for the reduced frequency on Service 37 (see below), Service X20 (Alford / Kemnay – Aberdeen) will operate via Kintore (School Road) & Blackburn, adding up to 8 minutes to journey times. The contracted Service X20 journeys in the evenings and Sundays will continue to operate direct to/from Kemnay.

  • New Service X20 journeys: 0815 ex Kemnay – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday); 1540 ex Kintore – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday); 1548 ex Blackburn – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday); 0719 ex Aberdeen – Kintore (Monday to Friday); 1410 ex Aberdeen – Kemnay (Monday to Friday).
  • Council officers to review the routeing of contracted Service 420 (Kemnay – Blackburn – Aberdeen) later this year in response to requests received at the Garioch Area Bus Forum for consideration to be given to by-passing Blackburn, to reduce overall journey times between Kemnay and Aberdeen, in view of Stagecoach’s decision to re-route Service X20 as above.
  • 1445 hours ex Aberdeen – Kemnay (Service 420) (Monday to Friday) is advanced by 5 minutes in response to concerns raised at the Marr Area Bus Forum regarding missed connections with Service 421 (Inverurie – Kemnay – Alford) in Kemnay (see also Service 421 below).  

35/35A

Aberdeen – Oldmeldrum – Turriff – Macduff – Elgin

0825 hours ex Aberdeen – Banff (Monday to Friday) is truncated to commence from Oldmeldrum.

  • 2105 hours ex Aberdeen – Whitehills (Monday to Saturday) and 2215 hours ex Aberdeen – Banff (Monday to Saturday) are rationalised to form a 2135 hours ex Aberdeen – Whitehills (Monday to Saturday).
  • 1603 hours ex Turriff – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday) is withdrawn. There are alternatives at 1523 hours and 1623 hours.
  • 1623 hours ex Banff – Aberdeen (Saturday) is withdrawn. There are alternatives at 1550 hours and 1650 hours.
  • New journey 0528 hours ex Macduff – Aberdeen (Saturday).
  • In response to queries, it is confirmed that Service 35A (Oldmeldrum – Aberdeen) is unchanged.

37/X37

Aberdeen – Inverurie

Reduced frequency from 20 minutes to 30 minutes (Service 10 continues to provide an additional bus per hour between Inverurie town centre and Aberdeen).

  • No longer operates via School Road in Kintore (covered by Service X20 above) with all buses operating via Hallforest Avenue.
  • New peak limited stop journeys numbered X37: 0635 hours ex Inverurie (Monday to Friday), 1710 hours ex Aberdeen (Monday to Friday) and 1931 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Saturday).
  • 2310 hours ex Aberdeen – Inverurie (Monday to Sunday) is withdrawn but will be covered by a Service 10B (Aberdeen – Elgin) departure at 2305 hours, serving Blackburn, Kintore and Inverurie.
  • 2125 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Monday to Friday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departures are at 2010 hours and 2210 hours. There is also a 2125 hours Service 10 departure from Inverurie (not via Kintore or Blackburn).
  • 2325 hours and 0025 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Monday to Saturday) are withdrawn. The last southbound departure is now at 2210 hours, though there are later Nightbird departures early Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • 2355 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Sunday) is withdrawn. The last southbound departure is now at 2225 hours.
  • 2125 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Saturday) additional journey.
  • 1648 hours ex Inverurie – Aberdeen (Sunday) additional journey.
  • Service re-routed to serve Craibstone Park and Ride to provide a link to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
  • Timing changes of up to 20 minutes

41

Insch – Inverurie

0912 hours ex Insch – Inverurie (Monday to Friday) and 1012 hours ex Insch – Inverurie (Saturday) contracted journeys are extended to commence from Beechcroft Road, Insch, in response to requests received at Garioch Area Bus Forum.

66/66A

Peterhead – Mintlaw – Stuartfield – Maud

1730 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield (Monday to Saturday) is extended to Maud, in response to requests received at Buchan Area Bus Forum.

  • 1155 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield (Monday to Friday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departures are at 1100 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Stuartfield and 1245 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Maud.
  • 1100 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield (Monday to Friday) will serve Torterston instead of Downiehills, in response to requests received at Buchan Area Bus Forum.
  • 0629 hours ex Stuartfield – Peterhead (Monday to Saturday) is extended to commence from Maud, in response to requests received at Buchan Area Bus Forum.
  • 1240 hours ex Stuartfield – Peterhead (Monday to Friday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departure is at 1144 hours
  • 1808 hours ex Stuartfield – Peterhead (Monday to Saturday) is re-routed to commence from Maud at 1816 hours and will not serve Stuartfield. There is an alternative departure from Stuartfield to Peterhead at 1852 hours (Council contract).
  • 1100 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield (Saturday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departures are at 1000 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Maud and 1200 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Stuartfield.
  • 1445 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield (Saturday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departures are at 1400 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Maud and 1600 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Stuartfield.
  • 1255 hours ex Peterhead – Mintlaw – Maud (Saturday) is retarded to depart at 1400 hours.
  • 1140 hours ex Stuartfield – Peterhead (Saturday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departure is at 1244 hours.
  • 1335 hours ex Maud – Mintlaw – Peterhead (Saturday) is retarded to depart at 1441 hours.
  • 1523 hours ex Stuartfield – Peterhead (Saturday) is withdrawn. The nearest alternative departure is at 1655 hours.
  • 0915 hours and 1725 hours ex Peterhead – Stuartfield – Peterhead (Sunday) return journeys are extended to operate as Peterhead – Mintlaw – Maud – Stuartfield – Peterhead.
  • Timing changes of up to 31 minutes.

217, 218 and 220 (currently X18)

Aberdeen – Westhill – Elrick/Alford

Service X18 is renumbered and split into three separate services as follows:

217: Echt – Elrick – (Aberdeen)

Peak hour weekday connecting service, operated under contract to Aberdeenshire Council.

218: Aberdeen – Westhill – Alford (via Lang Stracht)

The hourly daytime service (Monday to Saturday) which has been trialled since August 2015 will be reduced to 5 return journeys (Monday to Friday) and 3 return journeys (Saturday) on the basis of extremely limited passenger demand, effectively reverting to the Council’s contract specification which maintains peak and inter-peak provision and includes boarding/alighting restrictions between Elrick and Aberdeen to enable faster journeys. Connections with Service X17 (Elrick – Westhill – Aberdeen via Queens Road) are available at Kingswells Park and Ride.

First a.m. weekday peak journey from Alford to Aberdeen is advanced by 7 minutes to ensure workers arrive at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in time for 0800 hours. This was in response to requests received at the Garioch Area Bus Forum.

220: Aberdeen – Westhill (Hillside and Broadshade)

Most journeys on this Aberdeenshire Council contract will commence/terminate at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where connections are available with frequent services to/from the City Centre, with 3 return journeys per day going to/from Union Square. Operates via Kingswells Park and Ride (connections with Service X17 for Queens Road) and Kingswells Village.

421

Inverurie – Kemnay – Alford

1516 hours ex Inverurie – Alford (Monday to Friday) on this Council contract is retarded by 5 minutes in response to concerns raised at the Marr Area Bus Forum regarding missed connections with Service 420 (Aberdeen – Kemnay) in Kemnay (see also Service 420 above).

422

Insch – Alford

2356 hours ex Alford – Insch (Monday to Saturday), which is essentially a positional journey back to Insch depot, is re-routed via Whitehouse instead of Montgarrie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future of A2B bus service in Westhill – what do you think?

Following discussions at the recent Garioch Area Bus Forum meeting, the Council’s contract for Westhill A2B dial-a-bus currently operated by Stagecoach expires in August 2017. The service, which is open to the general public, operates door-to-door within Westhill and outlying areas as per the schematic map on the Council’s website – http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/public-transport/a2b-dial-a-bus/westhill/ .

Officers are currently reviewing detailed usage of the service in order to determine whether the service specification should be revised prior to tendering in April.  Initial ideas include the following:

  • The Mon-Fri service currently operates 0900-1700 hrs.  We are considering bringing forward the last drop-off time to 1600 hrs as there is little use of the service between 1600 hrs and 1700 hrs.
  • The Sat service currently operates 0930-1400 hrs, primarily serving Echt and Westhill.  We are considering tendering a more fixed route/timetabled service based on current usage to try to reduce the operating costs.
  • Amend the operating area to “withdraw” from the Leylodge and Schoolhill areas – this will match what is happening on the ground as we have no transport requests from these areas.

If you wish to provide comments or suggestions for the council to consider please email a2bdialabus@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or call the A2B general enquiries number on 01224 664747 by Thursday 23 March.

 

What do you think of proposed bus timetable changes?

Stagecoach have issued the following information and are seeking your views:

“Ahead of registering our new timetables for 1st May 2017 we’d like to hear from you! Our proposed timetables to commence 1st May are available here. Services will be revised in Aberdeen, Buchan, Stonehaven, Inverurie, Kemnay and Moray from this date.

Proposed timetables for bus services are all available online now at stagecoachbus.com. We’d love if you could review the proposals and share your thoughts, whether in support of the revisions, highlighting any concerns or sharing any other ideas you have on the services we operate.

Proposals include –

  •  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 currently.
  • Service X18 will be replaced by service 217, 218 and 220.
  • Inverurie – Aberdeen service 37 will be revised to a frequency of every 30 mins Monday – Friday. There are two proposals for this service – option A operates on the current route and Option B operates via Craibstone Park & Ride. Customers are encouraged to provide feedback on their preferred timetable.
  • Alford – Kemnay – Aberdeen service X20 will see some minor timing revisions. Like with service 37, there are two proposals for this service – option A operates on the current route and Option B operates via Craibstone Park & Ride. Customers are encouraged to provide feedback on their preferred timetable.
  • Aberdeen Airport service 727 will be revised and will no longer serve Craibstone Park and Ride. There are two proposals for this service – one operates on the current route and the other details the timetable for when Broad Street will close for redevelopment.
  • 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 11/11A will be revised to operate every 30 minutes.
  •  Service 30 will be withdrawn due to extremely low passenger use.
  •  Service 31 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 will operate to a revised route to replace part of withdrawn service 32. The section between Elgin and Forres will be withdrawn. Bus travel between Elgin and Forres can be made on services 10/11/11A.
  • Service 34 and 38 will not be revised from 1st May.

We are also holding holding information events throughout Aberdeenshire and Moray, to let you view the timetables or speak to local staff about the proposals. Events are planned to take place in Aberdeen, Westhill, Elgin, Portlethen and Inverurie.

Aberdeen St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen 2nd March, 10am – 4pm

Garioch Area Bus Forum Westhill Academy, Westhill 2nd March, 7.30pm – 9pm

Elgin St Giles Shopping Centre, Elgin 7th March, 9am – 5pm Portlethen/Inverurie Date and Venue TBC but event will take place week commencing 6th March.

At the events you can give us your feedback and or ask any questions regarding the proposed schedules.

For those unable to attend the above events, the proposed timetables and network maps are now available to view here, all feedback is welcomed to nscotmarketing@stagecoachbus.com or simply reply to this email.  All feedback should be submitted no later than Friday 10th March 2017.

How good are our local bus services?

 

If you have any issue you want to raise or questions to ask of either Aberdeenshire Council or Stagecoach, please come along to the Garioch Area Bus Forum on Thursday 2nd March at 7.30pm in Westhill Academy.

The Invitation plus Agenda can be accessed below. Please email me separately if you wish a copy of the previous Minutes from September 2016.

Garioch Bus Forum Invitation 02 03 17

Garioch Bus Forum Agenda 02 03 17

 

 

 

 

Garioch Bus Forum

bus

Garioch Bus Forum meets on Thursday 22nd September at Kemnay Village Hall at 7.30pm. Representatives from Aberdeenshire Council and Stagecoach will be on hand to answer any bus-related queries. I will not be able to attend due to another local meeting, but can pass on any comments to the Chair so that they can be discussed at the forum. Please feel free to go along and raise local issues. The Agenda for Thursday’s meeting along with the Minutes of the previous meeting can be found below:

Garioch Area Bus Forum Papers (22 Sept 2016)

Stagecoach X18 timetable set to expand service

bus

Following much lobbying to get the Broadshade area of Westhill served by public transport and requests made at the Garioch Area Bus forums for an additional link to Echt, Stagecoach are proposing the following timetable changes to the X18 service from 4th July 2016.

Stagecoach Managing Director, Steve Walker said “whilst you will see the frequency has gone from 20 to 30 minutes, the service will now give a direct journey for people of Hilltop Avenue etc and we will be taking account of the Broadshade development. There is also an additional link from Echt”.

Please see the revised timetable below and I would welcome any feedback.

X18 Final 04 07 16

Let’s make Scotland a cycle-friendly country

Pedal on Parliamentpedal-on-parliament-2016-300x201That is the aim of today’s Pedal on Parliament campaign and whilst unfortunately the snow showers in Westhill made me ditch my pedals in favour of the hydrogen bus, I was delighted to meet the campaigners at Marischal College this afternoon and support their manifesto which includes proper funding for cycling, safer speeds where people live, work and play and the integration of cycling in to local transport strategies.

The Aberdeen Cycling Forum organised the bike ride from Hazlehead Park to Marischal College to coincide with the event at Holyrood today. You can find out more about the forum here.

The campaign was aimed at Scottish Parliament candidates. Our candidate for Aberdeenshire West, Mike Rumbles gave his backing and said “Congratulations for helping to publicise the real need to improve facilities for walkers and cyclists. We really do need to encourage both walking and cycling and less reliance on our cars. This is one way of doing that.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said that helping more Scots get on their bikes will not happen by accident as he set out a Lib Dem three-point plan to encourage more people to cycle and walk.

Speaking from Pedal on Parliament in Edinburgh after riding in with a group from Fife, Mr Rennie warned that cycle safety needs to be at the heart  of the planning process and set out plans for £20m of new investment in active travel.

The Lib Dem three-point plan would:

  • Increase the share of the transport budget that is spent on cycling and active transport by adding £20 million of capital spending;
  • Support safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists with more dedicated and segregated cycle lanes;
  • Revise the current Cycling by Design guidelines to reflect international best practice and increase their authority to make them core national standards, ensuring safe provision for cyclists and pedestrians is built in to the road system.

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

“Active travel helps keep us fit and healthy and cuts our carbon emissions but increasing the number of journeys made by bike or on foot will not happen by accident. Improving safety is vital for that and our plans would see bike safety put at the heart of the planning process.

“We need action to increase investment in both cycling and walking, improve dedicated cycling infrastructure and ensure that people are confident that they can ride their bike safely.

“The Liberal Democrat three-point plan would deliver millions of pounds of investment and help reach the target of 10 per cent of journeys being by bike by the end of the next parliament.”

 

Stagecoach update

bus

On 18th April, 2016, there will be a service revision to the X17 with a reduction of frequency from every 10 minutes to every 12 minutes.

All journeys will now serve Kingswells Park & Ride.

Prospect Road, Westhill is no longer served on Saturdays.

Journey re-timing:

1448 hours ex Aberdeen Union Square – Elrick – Aberdeen Union Square (Monday to Friday) return journey is re-routed to additionally serve Prospect Road, Westhill at 1540 hours.

Additonal return journey:

1724 hours ex Aberdeen Union Square – Elrick – Aberdeen Union Square (Saturday).

Apologies for the belated reporting back from the Bus Forum held on 14th March – lots of issues raised – a request from Echt residents to have a Saturday service via the X18 will be explored. Westhill new bus shelters should now be in place. A further request for a night bus via Sauchen was discounted citing low demand previously. The lack of service to the Broadshade estate is still an issue. We are told that the reliability of hydrogen buses have improved. Transport officers reported a marked reduction of all travel modes in and around Aberdeen in recent months.