>> 22 October 2009

The launch today by Stagecoach Bluebird of 14 new high-specification coaches for the Aberdeen to Buchan route has been warmly welcomed by local councillors who have been campaigning for improved bus services.

Stagecoach management responded positively to concerns raised previously by local councillors with improved timetabling and an increased frequency in the bus service. Now, in the latest move, new coaches are to be deployed on local routes and were launched at a ceremony in Ellon today.

Gordon MSP and Banff & Buchan MP, Alex Salmond, welcomed the launch of the new fleet and commented:

"I am very pleased that Stagecoach Bluebird have made such a significant investment in new buses for the benefit of my constituents in Buchan and Formartine. These 14 new coaches are fitted with the very best of low carbon-emission diesel engines, and the high comfort and additional capacity should encourage more travellers to use the bus."

Ellon & District councillor, Rob Merson, who attended the launch, said:

"Having been in ongoing communication with Stagecoach Bluebird on behalf of constituents who are regular bus users, my colleagues and I are delighted that Stagecoach Bluebird have taken such positive measures to provide the residents of Formatine and Buchan with an improved timetable and a bus fleet that is fit for the 21st Century.

"I had a conversation with Stagecoach boss, Brian Souter, in Ellon some months ago - he assured me then that he intended to make a considerable investment in the Buchan line - and he has certainly been true to his word."

Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith added:

"These new state-of-the-art buses will provide much-needed additional passenger capacity, and all of them are fitted with hydraulic wheelchair lifts which should make them accessible to all customers."

Also attending the launch was Mid Formartine SNP councillor Allan Hendry who remarked.

"Passengers on these buses can travel in comfort, while the latest in wi-fi technology now allows computer access to the web - which should prove a great attraction for those who want an early start to their working day, or just browse the internet."

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