Cash from council could put bus services back on track in three areas of Granite City
THREE communities that lack public transport may get council supported bus services, if proposals are agreed next week.
Kingswells, Airyhall/ Craigiebuckler and Dubford/ Denmore have been identified as the parts of the city where there is a gap in the public transport network.
But other areas including the beach, Lower Deeside and airport have been ruled out for financial help from the local authority.
Aberdeen City Council’s finance committee will be asked on Wednesday to start a tendering process to provide bus services in these areas.
A report states that while the “majority of Aberdeen” is served throughout the day and all week to a “satisfactory level” by commercial bus services, a “number of gaps” have been identified.
First Bus pulled its X40 and number 11 services from Kingswells on April 1, leaving the suburb without a bus link.
The closest bus service was at the park and ride – a 2.5km (1.5 mile) walk for some.
The axed services were replaced earlier this year by a council-funded shuttle bus to take residents to the park and ride and then on to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, on weekdays only from 6am until 11pm.
But the council has said a more “permanent solution” is required and the finance committee is being asked to agree extending the service.
A report by Chris Cormack, the team leader of the council’s public transport unit, said: “The assessment for Kingswells demonstrates that the existing supported services do meet the minimum criteria between Monday to Friday.
“But, there are insufficient bus services at the weekend and should supported services no longer be available then residents would have a significant walk to a bus service and this would significantly impact on residents’ ability to access education, employment and key services.”
Council officers suggest the local authority supports a daily service operating every 30 minutes at peak times; a minimum hourly service offpeak and in the evenings between 6am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and an hourly service on Sundays between 8am and 10pm.
Mr Cormack added: “It is recommended where possible for any service to travel via the Lang Stracht and Westburn Road as the feedback from the community has highlighted the importance of this link.
“However, when doing so consideration would have to be given to the availability of funding.”
Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney, who has been a vocal advocate for reinstating bus services in the area, said: “Things have moved forward with quite a bit of consensus but really we should have been here before the bus service stopped in April.
“I’m just concerned by the time it has taken to get here, because the service at the moment is better than nothing but it leaves a lot to be desired.
“This will go out to tender and look at the possibility for an improved bus service.”
Commercial bus operators stopped providing evening services in Airyhall/craigiebuckler in April 2013 and as a result residents had to walk up to 2km (1.2 miles) to catch the nearest bus.
Councillors will be asked to consider offering this service in-house at Wednesday’s meeting.
A new supported Sunday bus service is also set to be introduced in the Dubford/denmore area of the city.
In his report, Mr Cormack said: “Commercial bus operators ceased to provide Sunday services in the area in September 2012 and as a result residents are required to walk up to 1.6km (1 mile) for their nearest service.
“The assessment for Dubford/ Denmore demonstrates that there is an insufficient level of bus service in the area on a Sunday, requiring residents to walk a considerable distance to access a bus service.
“It is considered that a supported service is implemented between 9am
ON ROAD: The link to the Kingswells park and ride could be made more regular.
Cllr Steve Delaney has pushed the issue.