Stagecoach have announced a reduction in frequency on all their services with effect from Monday. The X17 service is reduced to half-hourly and the council funded 14 reverts to a Sunday service 7 days a week. There are also changes to the 727 Aberdeen Airport service which can be found here.
Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Passenger numbers across all bus routes have dropped dramatically in light of Government advice not to use public transport unless you have to, but many people have no choice”.
“These new timetables result in the first X17 arriving at the Park & Ride at 06.44 rather than 05.49. The changes to the 14 are even worse with the first bus opposite the medical centre leaving at 08.03 rather than the usual 06.03 which is going to prevent many residents from getting to work on time”.
Steve continued, “whilst I can fully understand that adjustments to timetables may be necessary if some of the drivers are having to self isolating, the later starting times leave many people unable to get to work”.
“In addition, the reduced frequency on the X17 is likely to result in more passengers on each bus, which makes social distancing somewhat challenging and increases the chances of spreading the virus. I am very concerned that Stagecoach have not thought this one through”
Current Kingswells timetables can be found here
New Kingswells/Westhill timetables can be found here.
Stagecoach’s Press Release is reprinted in full below.
Temporary changes to bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray are being introduced by Stagecoach from Monday 23rd March following new government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus.
A reduced timetable will operate across the region until further notice. The timetables have been carefully created to ensure that critical routes are maintained wherever possible.
The majority of bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray will operate to a Sunday timetable with additional journeys in the mornings to allow those continuing to commute by bus to work can do so, 7 days a week. Discounted bus travel continues to be available for NHS staff commuting with Aberdeen zone 2 (zone 2 covers services in the city centre and to Balmedie, Westhill and Portlethen). The discounted 7-day bus ticket is available to purchase direct from any Stagecoach bus driver.
The reduction in service follows extensive action by bus operators to enhance cleaning regimes and protect the safety and well-being of customers and employees.
Peter Knight, Managing Director for Stagecoach Bluebird said: “Along with other bus operators and key sectors, we are working hard to support the national effort to tackle the current challenging situation.
“The safety of our customers and our employees is at the heart of everything we do and the vast majority of the workforce cannot work from home. We also know that our bus services play a vital role in keeping the country running and ensuring key sector personnel get to work.
“Following the latest government advice, we have reviewed our timetables and made temporary changes which reflect the reduced level of travel. Our objective has been to focus resources on where we know they are needed most at this time.
“We are working hard to best maintain essential services, safeguard jobs and ensure the long-term sustainability of a sector which is central to our economy and communities.
“I want to reassure all members of the community that Stagecoach Bluebird remains closely engaged with a number of local and national stakeholders to ensure that our services meet the needs of the communities that we proudly serve, in what is a dynamic situation.”
Since the impact of the coronavirus in the UK, Stagecoach has implemented additional hygiene measures to protect passengers, frontline bus workers and office-based staff.
In addition to well-established and rigorous cleaning regimes, there has been more frequent cleaning of main customer touch-points on buses, such as hand poles and grab rails.
Travel shops in Aberdeen, Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Elgin and Inverness will also close until further notice.
Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This announcement relates to all services travelling in and out of Aberdeen with the exception of the No 14 Kingswells service which is funded by Aberdeen City Council. There are currently no changes proposed for this service apart from the removal of the weekend service, as previously advised, from a yet unspecified date in April”.
Customers can stay up to date with all the latest news from Stagecoach on Twitter @StagecoachBBird or by signing up to their email mailing list, full details are available at stagecoachbus.com.