The report recommended the extension of the No 94 crematorium bus to Kingswells. The service would act as a shuttle bus ferrying residents to Kingswells Park & Ride operating on a 30 minute frequency, to link into Stagecoach’s X17 service between 06:30 – 08:33 and 16:40 – 19:03 and would provide a service between 09:00 – 16:30 from Kingswells to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. No evening or weekend service was proposed.
Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “Although I accept that the use of the service 94 is the only option open to us to bridge the gap over the next few weeks, given the tight timescales, it does not offer a usable solution beyond that of the next few weeks”.
“The outline timetable will not help people who start work early or finish late, whether they are travelling from Kingswells or indeed working in Kingswells businesses including Kingswells School, Kingsmead Nursing Home, Great Western Nursery and others. In addition, having to change buses at ARI will create timing difficulties for others en route to work”. That’s not to mention the difficulties people will experience socialising and going about their everyday lives.
“The daytime services proposed are very limited indeed, with 60-75 minutes between services, which will impact upon people’s ability to get to medical appointments and the proposed route will not service a number of local facilities within Kingswells”.
As a result of commercially sensitive content, the report was taken in private.
Steve had proposed a two stage approach where the 94 service would be used on a rolling month to month basis until such times as a full service could be tendered and put in place. He suggested that a budget be approved for this and the task be delegated to officers to minimise the time taken to introduce a new service. This would have avoided final decisions being delayed until after May’s council elections.
He said, “My proposal could have limited the use of the No 94 to just a few weeks, pending the introduction of a service which ran in the evenings and operated seven days a week straight into the city centre. This was the preferred option of the council’s Public Transport Unit, but they needed the authority and the funding to go out to tender’, something which was not forthcoming today”.
“My proposal offered a feasible way forward but instead it was opposed by Labour, Conservative and SNP councillors including the Labour and SNP members elected to serve the Kingswells area. Instead, they backed the extended 94 service, leaving many workers unable to get to or from work, putting Kingswells businesses at risk and isolating people in their own homes as a result of the absence of evening and weekend services”.
“Aberdeen City Council has failed to deliver. Kingswells deserves better than this. I’m absolutely appalled at the total disregard of the facts on the ground presented to committee by local people. The decision was to put this service in place for 12 months and with no additional finance at its back, any prospect of an improved service being brought in sooner must surely be very remote”.
“This decision is an absolute disgrace. I’m certainly not finished with this yet and I will seek to overturn this decision and deliver a usable and sustainable service for Kingswells at the very earliest opportunity”.