Buses mod­i­fied af­ter stream of com­plaints over dis­abled ac­cess

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JAMIE ROSS

Buses that drew crit­i­cism from pas­sen­gers are be­ing mod­i­fied to ad­dress ac­cess prob­lems.

Stage­coach launched its new-look Buchan Xpress ve­hi­cles across Aberdeen­shire two years ago as part of a £5.5mil­lion scheme to im­prove links be­tween north-east towns and Aberdeen.

But within days of them tak­ing to the roads, con­cerns be­gan pour­ing in that el­derly and dis­abled pas­sen­gers were hav­ing dif­fi­culty get­ting on and off. That prompted a re­think by the firm, which is now re­fit­ting the ve­hi­cles.

The first of the 17 buses has now re­turned to the roads.

A change to the stair­case has been made to make board­ing eas­ier for those with mo­bil­ity re­stric­tions, and ad­di­tional handrails have been in­stalled.

All of the ve­hi­cles are ex­pected to be road-ready by au­tumn.

Mark White­locks, manag­ing di­rec­tor for Stage­coach North Scot­land, said: “We have al­ready re­ceived pos­i­tive feed­back from cus­tomers re­gard­ing the mod­i­fi­ca­tions. There is now a plan in place to make th­ese im­prove­ments to the en­tire fleet of Buchan Xpress coaches in the com­ing months.”

Peter­head MP Eilidh White­ford had branded the buses “un­fit” last year.

Last night, she said the re­fits were a “step for­ward” in rem­e­dy­ing the sit­u­a­tion for com­muters. “I am glad Stage­coach has lis­tened to feed­back from pas­sen­gers, and have made real ef­forts to ad­dress the chal­lenges faced by less ag­ile and dis­abled pas­sen­gers,” she added.

“I also wel­come the ac­knowl­edge­ment that there is a need in the longer term to im­prove the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of ru­ral bus ser­vices more widely, recog­nis­ing that many pas­sen­gers have some de­gree of mo­bil­ity im­pair­ment, dis­abil­ity, or, in the case of those trav­el­ling with ba­bies and tod­dlers, need help to get on and off the bus safely.”

“I am glad Stage­coach has lis­tened to feed­back”

GOOD STEPS: Mark White­locks shows the new im­proved ac­cess on the buses

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.