FirstAberdeen is consulting on changes to bus services across Aberdeen. It is proposed that any changes commence from 16th September 2012.
The changes suggested for the No 40 Park & Ride Service are significant. The route is to be renumbered 41 and the intention is for it to terminate at the ARI bus port rather than AECC at the Bridge of Don. The frequency of buses running on this route is to change from 15 minutes to 30 minutes at all times of day.
It is difficult to appreciate First’s rationale as the new service will be of no use to anyone other than staff and visitors travelling to ARI. There is no longer any reason for people who live in Aberdeenshire and work in the City to leave their cars at the Park & Ride site and travel from Kingswells to the City Centre and beyond. The new route no longer takes people where they want to go.
Steve Delaney said, “I have have made representation to First regarding these changes. I stressed the need to retain the 15 minute service (at the absolute minimum during peak times) and I have asked for the operating hours to be increased to accommodate the most common 12.5 hour nursing shifts. I have also asked First to look at through ticketing options (to allow onward travel from ARI) as your ticket currently allows travel as far as the City Centre or on to Bridge of Don. These new proposals would see your journey (and your ticket) terminate at ARI. I am fully convinced FirstAberdeen is trying to run down the Park & Ride service. The cut in frequency and the termination at ARI makes this route much less attractive to the travelling public”.
Steve continued, “This flies in the face of common sense, given the need to encourage people to leave their cars at home and the new parking restrictions affecting staff working at ARI, which, it was suggested, would make use of the Park & Ride site. There are also future opportunities with regard to the Prime Four office development which do not appear to have been factored in. A lack of frequent, reliable bus services to this business park will inevitably result in even more cars on our roads. Rather than look at how best they can grow this service, FirstAberdeen have, with these proposals, effectively crippled the Park & Ride, resulting in a lost opportunity”.
Steve Delaney, now Councillor for Kingswells/Sheddocksley, gave evidence to a Public Inquiry in 2010, following on from representation he had made to the Traffic Commissioner as a result of unreliable bus services across Aberdeen. He has continued to campaign for better bus services since then. Steve met with FirstAberdeen ahead of the public consultation and urges local residents to have their say.
The consultation runs until 15th July 2012. Residents wishing to make their views known should write to Duncan Cameron, Operations Director, FirstAberdeen, 395 King Street, Aberdeen. AB24 5RP.