Gillian Martin MSP Expresses Concern for Upcoming Cuts to Bus Services Across the North-East

>> 2 May 2023

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has raised her concern regarding Aberdeenshire Council’s forthcoming withdrawal of funding for some fixed route bus journeys, due to begin June 12.

Plans to cut bus services were announced after the council’s review of the supported bus network, in context of the reduction in the 2023/24 Revenue Budget allocation for supporting bus services – which was agreed by the council in early March.

Funding for 19 services/part services is being withdrawn. The number of users on a service over an agreed period was among the criteria used to evaluate which services were no longer viable.

The council will continue to spend more than £3.2million in the coming financial year to support or partly support 35 fixed routes and its A2B dial-a-bus services.

Councillor Geoff Crowson (SNP: Central Buchan) has been outspoken on the matter, and has said:

“Central Buchan no longer appears central but has an increasing feeling of isolation amongst villagers who rely on public transport. I am constantly receiving complaints about the service connecting New Pitsligo, Maud and New Deer to the towns and the proposed cuts will affect these already poorly served areas.

“The residents are already feeling Isolated and frustrated and we should be looking for ways to improve the service, not exacerbate the current situation. I will continue to try and find some resolution.”

A number of councillors have supported maintaining the current level of service, which Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has responded to by saying:

“Free bus travel provided by the Scottish Government has been a major boost to our rural communities, helping people access education, healthcare, and leisure. But when the Conservative administration cut vital bus services, they are taking this freedom away from these groups – this is short sighted and damaging.

“The Scottish Government has funded free bus travel for Under 22s, over 60s, and people with disabilities. But what use is this help when bus services are cut? Aberdeenshire East residents living in our towns and villages, whether they’re in Hatton or Turriff, depend on express services to Aberdeen and Peterhead.”

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