Aberdeen’s Conservative led coalition have axed weekend bus services to and from Kingswells as part of this year’s “budget savings”. Other services to face the axe are the 15A weekend service and the Sunday service on the 40 (Bridge of Don).
Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “The No 14 bus service was hard fought for by Kingswells residents following the withdraw of First’s X40 service three years ago. The No 14 has proved popular with residents and passenger numbers are growing. Just as we thought bus services were starting to settle down, this happens”.
The No 14 service is operated by Stagecoach but fully funded by Aberdeen City Council after First withdrew from Kingswells maintaining the service was not commercially viable and Stagecoach were unwilling to pick up the route commercially.
Steve added, “Under current legislation, councils must consider introducing financially supported bus service bus services to serve communities which have no commercially operated services. They key is that they must consider but there is no obligation on councils to pay for such services nor is there any minimum specification required for such services. Consequently there is no prospect of reversing this cut to services”.
The current contract with Stagecoach was for two years with the option of re-tendering at the end of that time or extending the current contract for a further 12 months. The two years ends on 31 March 2020 and council officers are looking to extend the contract with the current bus operator for a further 12 months, but on the basis of a Monday to Friday service only.
Steve continued, “The date the weekend service will cease on, is not yet confirmed but it’s likely to be some time in April. The remaining weekday service will then continue for a further year but it’s anyone’s guess what will happen this time next year. It’s an absolute disgrace that Kingswells, a village of around 5,000 people, will be effectively cut off from the rest of Aberdeen every weekend. The services at the Park & Ride are fine for people who live within walking distance or have a car, but they do not serve the majority of residents in Kingswells”.
Aberdeen’s Conservative, suspended Labour and Independent Alliance councillors have shown they have no interest in Kingswells and should hang their heads in shame”.
Please note:- This change currently affects the weekend No 14 service only. Stagecoach services operating from Kingswells Park & Ride are not council supported and are therefore subject to different changes from April.