Flexible Travel Bundles From FirstAberdeen.

With effect from 26th April 2021 FirstAberdeen are to offer more flexibility on their ticketing options. They have recognised that weekly, monthly and three monthly bus passes may not work for some people as a result of changing working patterns with the working week split between home and office. This initiative will allow customers to purchase a number of individual day tickets in advance at a discounted price.

Flexible Travel Bundles are available in 5, 10 or 15 ticket options, offering a discount over the normal cost of purchasing a day ticket through the APP. These bundles are only available to purchase from the FirstBus APP with validity for 2, 4 or 6 weeks dependent on which bundle you purchase. They can be found under the Day Bundles section when selecting which ticket to purchase.

Full information can be found here.

Stagecoach Returns To Pre-Pandemic Bus Frequencies & Replaces The X17 Service

Stagecoach has announced a number of their bus routes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. These changes will affect the current X17 & No 14 routes as well as the less frequent 218 service.

With regard to routes 14 and 218, the frequency of these services is now returning to those which had operated prior to the pandemic but please check timetables as the timings may not be exactly the same. It’s also worth noting that the No 14 weekend service which was cut by Aberdeen’s Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors last year is not being restored, so that service will only operate Monday to Friday.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The most significant change for our area is the decision to replace the X17 with three different services, the 4, 5 & 6. Heading to and from the City Centre you can catch one of these three services every 10 minutes (Mon-Sat). If you’re travelling to Westhill, you have a choice of the 5 or 6 (some services are numbered 6A) as the 4 goes to Countesswells. All three routes operate 7 days a week following the current Queens Road route into the city centre”.

The revised timetables should be updated at all bus stops in the next few days. Stagecoach have decided not to print copies of the new timetables but you can find the details for all these routes to view or download here.

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Community Planning Aberdeen has launched an online simulator to enable citizens to express what is important and of value to them and for their community.  The survey is open to any resident of Aberdeen City.

What is important to you?

Community Planning Aberdeen is the name for your local partnership of public, private and third sector organisations and communities all working together to improve people’s lives across Aberdeen City.

We would like residents of Aberdeen to participate in this short exercise to discover what things you value and what is important to you.

Imagine you are responsible for improving the lives of the people of Aberdeen. You only have 500 points to give to various improvement projects. You must allocate all of these points. How would you allocate these points? How you do this will help guide the work of Community Planning Aberdeen and the priorities within the City’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan.  You can, also, give comments and submit ideas. 

Open until Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Get Started >>

If you have any queries or would like to give us feedback, please use the comments boxes in the link or email us at communityplanning@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Winter Maintenance Plan Published

Aberdeen City Council’s Winter Maintenance Plan has been published. The document is very similar to last year’s retaining the same priority system for the clearance of roads and footways. The full plan can be found here and the progress of gritters can be tracked here.

There are over 900 grit bins in residential areas across the city. As in previous years the council is not accepting any requests for additional grit bins. You can locate your nearest one on this map.

There will be a contact number on all grit bins which can be called when it requires topping up.

Applications for the one tonne salt bag will be opening up in about two weeks and these too can now be topped up if they start running low. Please keep checking this link or the local press for details.

Liberal Democrat Operations Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “This winter is likely be a challenging one, regardless of of its severity with the unknown additional issues the covid-19 pandemic may show up”.

“The Liberal Democrats have for some years advocated making resources available to community groups so that we can all do our bit to help keep footways within our own streets clear of snow and ice”.

“I am therefore pleased to see the continuation of the large community grit bags in 20 locations across the city as well as the one tonne community salt bags. The only issue with these community salt bags was the difficulty experiences in distributing contents to community members. That’s why I welcome the distribution of smaller bags with these for residents to fill up and take away”.

“This does not in any way absolve the council’s of its responsibility to keep all main routes clear and to do are much as they can on other routes subject to prevailing weather conditions. It’s more about all of us who are able to do so, keeping our own little patch cleared and helping out those who are less able”.

“With the council likely to be under additional pressures this year due to covid-19 we’re all going to need to pull together to help each other and in particular to look out for elderly and disabled neighbours who may find themselves struggling if we’re hit by a particularly bad winter”.

Aberdeen to Westhill Corridor Study – Public Consultation

Aberdeen City Council has just launched an online public and stakeholder engagement on the Aberdeen to Westhill corridor.

The purpose of this study is to consider options to improve transport connections along the A944 and A9119 (formerly the B9119) i.e. Westhill – Kingswells – Lang Stracht – Queens Road – City Centre corridors.

It builds upon an initial stakeholder engagement undertaken earlier this year and it seeks feedback on the options for improvement that have been developed so far.

This study is independent of the Westhill to Kingswells Cycle Connectivity study being undertaken simultaneously by Aecom, although options identified through this study will be integrated with any identified options as part of this project.

This is being undertaken in the context of the revised Roads Hierarchy and in response to repeated calls for active travel improvements along the corridor and it’s identification as a priority corridor for improvement by the North East Bus Alliance.

Among other things, it is hoped that the outcomes of the study can feed into ACC’s application for a share of the bus priority infrastructure funding identified in the most recent Programme for Government once this becomes available.

Although the study commenced prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, consideration is being given to both the potential short- and longer-term transport impacts of the pandemic as much as these can be anticipated at this time. 

Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “This study looks towards creating much improved infrastructure in our area and potentially affects all of us by way of our links to and from the city centre. A balance needs to be struck between the needs of different groups of road users to hopefully result in improvements along the A944/Lang Stracht and Skene Road/Queens Road corridors which will bring benefits to all”.

“It’s unfortunate that no face to face exhibitions can be undertaken at this time, making it even more important that you make your views known by completing the online consultation exercise”.

Please take a few minutes to make your views known. The consultation document can be found here.

A further round of engagement, on the final outcomes and recommendations of the study, will take place at a future date.

Closure Of Kingswells To Cults Road

Off-site works recently recommenced on the new road which is to replace the existing C128C Kingswells to Cults road. The consortium behind the new Countesswells development have been in touch to confirm they are nearing the point where it will prove necessary to close the existing road.

There will be a signed diversion for the duration of the closure which will be advised by Aberdeen City Council Roads Department.

Once completed, the West Link Road, incorporating a cycle way and pavement from Kingswells through the development, will provide a much needed upgrade with improved safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

Local Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “These works, which were delayed as a result of the pandemic, will inevitably cause significant inconvenience to anyone who uses the C128C to get to and from work. However, the end result will be a brand new much improved route which will benefit everyone”.

“The period of closure has been kept to a minimum as a result of some off site works having been progressed in advance of the closure. In addition, with the AWPR Kingswells South junction works now completed, we’re no longer facing the prospect of two major roads projects running concurrently as had originally been envisaged”.

The road closure will take place as at 21st September 2020 for a period of 13 weeks to 20 December 2020.

Have Your say On Draft Regional Transport Strategy

The North East transport partnership Nestrans is carrying out a consultation on a range of proposals for travel in Aberdeen City and Shire in the coming years.

The strategy is grouped into six themes:

  • Plans for travel in the city centre
  • Increasing walking and cycling
  • A focus on alternative energy
  • Enhancing connectivity through fit-for-purpose road links
  • Plans to address the challenges of rurality
  • Cross-Rail and InterCity Rail enhancements

Full information on the draft Regional Transport Strategy and how to take part in the consultation is available at Nestrans2040.org.uk

All comments on the draft Regional Transport Strategy must be submitted by Friday 16th October.

New Bus Timetables

Video from FirstGroup explaining how their buses are currently operating

First Aberdeen has announced new timetables commencing on 3rd August. This represents to gearing up of public transport operators to accommodate the forthcoming re-opening of our schools and the expected increase in passenger numbers as more people come off furlough, returning to work in the coming weeks.

All buses will continue to operate at reduced capacities to allow for social distancing, so passengers are still being asked to sit in window seats and keep a row of seats between themselves and other passengers. Where double deckers are in use, more able bodied passengers are asked to sit upstairs to leave downstairs seats free for those who may not manage the stairs.

As capacity is currently reduced on buses, passengers with smart phones are asked to download the First Bus or Stagecoach APP as this gives live departure times and displays the number of seats expected to be free when the bus reaches your stop. Passengers are also asked to allow extra time for their journey as they may not be able to board their intended bus and will have to wait for the next one, or even the one after that.

Passengers are reminded that face coverings are required and anyone not wearing one, who is not exempt from doing so, is liable to face a £100 fine. Although face coverings are not mandatory at bus stops, it is recommended that you wear one in enclosed spaces such as bus shelters and other places where it may not be possible to socially distance.

Please note that, although Stagecoach also has new timetables from 3rd August on some of its routes, no changes have been made to the Kingswells services.

New timetables from First Aberdeen can be found here.

Update on Weekend Bus Service To Kingswells

A number of residents have raised concerns over the withdrawal of the No 14 bus service to Kingswells at the weekends. There is also been some confusion over previously announced changes to the X17 service which have not been progressed.

Local Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney said, “The No 14 service is funded by Aberdeen City Council and the ruling Tory, Labour and Independent coalition took the decision to axe these and other weekend services as part of their budget cuts on 3rd March. This was publicised at the time both online and in Focus but, with the passage of time and the fact most people were at home during the lockdown, many people had forgotten about it”.

“Although my Lib Dem colleagues and I opposed these changes at the time, the majority view won the day. Aberdeen City Council is the provider of last resort and they have taken a decision not to provide weekend bus services. I believe it is morally wrong to leave a whole community effectively cut off from the rest of the city at the weekends but I regret there is no possibility of reversing their decision at this point in time”.

“I have raised the community’s concerns with the council’s Public Transport Unit and they have responded as follows”.

Financial support for weekend services on the number 14 was withdrawn at the end of March 2020 following the budget decision to withdraw all weekend supported bus services.  During the period when Stagecoach were operating emergency timetables due to the COVID19 lockdown, they did maintain weekend services on the 14 but these have now been withdrawn. 

Funding has been put in place between Transport Scotland and bus operators to allow an increase in bus service provision across the Country.  The funding is intended to cover the anticipated loss of fare-paying passenger revenue that operators will experience due to physical distancing and reduced carrying capacity, while at the same time increasing service provision, to almost 80% immediately and then up to almost 100% by 3rd August. From the 29th June 2020 Stagecoach Bluebird are now operating around 80% of bus services that they would have been operating were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.  As such the service 14 timetable has had to be brought in line with what would be operating normally at this time which does not include weekend services.

The changes to the Westhill service with the X17 replaced by the 4, 5 and 6 were due to take place on 6th April but this was prevented by the lockdown situation and the emergency timetables that Stagecoach were required to introduce.   Stagecoach will continue to operate the X17 at the present time and any proposed timetable/service changes will be considered at a later point in time.

Following the Council’s decision to withdraw financial support for the weekend service, Officers did explore options with Stagecoach Bluebird to retain some level of service, but no viable solution could be found. This matter will of course always be reviewed as changes to the public transport network take place, but due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 on public transport an immediate solution is unlikely.

Bus Operators Increase Frequency Of Services From 29 June

Video from FirstGroup explaining how their buses will operate from 29 June

First Aberdeen and Stagecoach have both announced changes to the frequency of their services with effect from 29 June. This is being done to help accommodate the expected increase in passenger numbers due to the re-opening of some shops and other businesses from that date.

However, although the frequency of buses on each route will be increasing, passengers need to be aware that social distancing applies to bus travel so many of the seats will be cordoned off and the driver will not be permitted to allow you to board if the number of passengers has already reached its maximum capacity.

This means that passengers must allow extra time just in case they cannot get on the bus as a result of capacity issues and need to wait for the next bus. Passengers using the updated First Bus APP or Stagecoach APP will be able to see whether or not there is still capacity on the bus prior to it reaching your stop.

It should be noted that passengers are required to use face coverings when using public transport unless they are under 5 years of age or have a medical exemption. Passengers not wearing face coverings will not be permitted to board the bus.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s good to see improved frequency of bus services but disappointing that restrictions which are necessary to minimise risk to the public will result in reduced capacity, especially at peak times. If your job can be done from home, current advice remains that this should continue at present”.

“Government guidelines still recommend you should avoid using public transport unless absolutely necessary. I would therefore suggest that people who are over 70 or have underlying health problems which put them at higher risk of complications if they catch covid-19, should use carefully weigh up the risks before deciding to travel by bus at this point in time”.

“Please note that though services have more or less returned to pre-lockdown frequencies, there may slight changes to actual timings, so please check out the latest timetables before travelling”.

Stagecoach timetables for Kingswells services can be found here.

First Aberdeen timetables are available for the 3, 13 & 23.

What Does Phase 2 Of Easing The Lockdown Really Mean?

Image by Graham Hobster from Pixabay 

As we move into phase 2 of the lockdown easing there are a number of changes to the list of activities which are now considered to be safe as long as appropriate social distancing is observed.

With regard to the services provided by Aberdeen City Council and other local service providers which had been either suspended or reduced, some of these are already starting to return to normal but others may take much longer.

Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know with regard to the main changes as they affect us in an everyday context.

Frequency of recycling collections

No change at present and no timeframe has yet been given for the return to normal service in Aberdeen. Due to the social distancing requirements, it is likely the reduced collections will continue for some time

Grass Cutting

This has resumed but it will take time to get round the whole city. More information can be found here.

Roads & Construction Sites

Non-emergency repairs resumed a couple of weeks ago. Road and footway resurfacing and construction sites are putting in place preparations to re-start and we will see a phased return starting from 22 June onwards.

Public Transport

Buses remain on a much reduced timetable and people are advised not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary. More frequent services are likely to resume in coming weeks but buses will have restrictions on the number of passengers they can take due to social distancing requirements. From 22 June it becomes an offence for passengers in buses, taxis, private hire cars and other modes of public transport not to wear face coverings.

Sport & Leisure

Non-contact sport such as golf and tennis are now permitted but gyms remain closed in the meantime. Numbers participating will be limited. Contact Sports will not be possible until the later stages of the lockdown easing. More information can be found at Sport Aberdeen.

Childrens play area will re-open on 29 June. Parks are already open. However, public toilets remain closed and no decision has yet been taken on their re-opening.


The restrictions on moving house will be relaxed from 29 June so it will now be possible for buyers and sellers to move from that date. Council and Housing Association allocations, other than just homeless applications, will also be able to resume.

What’s Opening Up & What’s Not?

All types of retail units will be permitted to re-open from 29 June but only if they have put in place social distancing measures within the premises and outwith, in order to accommodate safe queueing.

Some opticians are to re-open from 29 June primarily for urgent appointment with the fuller range of services being phased in over the coming weeks. Dental surgeries can treat urgent cases from 22 June.

The registry office will reopen from 29 June, initially for essential services only but resuming full services at a later date.

Hairdressers will remain closed until at least 9th July, possibly later. There will be an announcement regarding pubs and restaurants on 2 July.

Council buildings currently remain closed but a review is currently underway to determine how best to open these in a manner which is safe for both customers and staff.

Fuller information relating to phase two of relaxing the lockdown can be found here.

Local Development Plan – Have Your Say

Aberdeen City Council is seeking people’s views on the Aberdeen Local Development Plan: Proposed Plan 2020. Amongst other things, this sets out locations for new homes, businesses and facilities and identifies areas for protection. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there will be no public meetings or drop-in sessions about the Proposed Plan 2020.

Comments on and objections to the Proposed Plan 2020 and the associated Delivery Programme and Environmental Report can be made online. These documents can be viewed on the council website.

You can complete the council’s online consultation here. The consultation closes on 31st August 2020.

City Centre Road Closures – What’s Your View?

A number of residents have been in touch to say they are very annoyed that the council is closing roads and making other traffic management changes in the city centre without having consulted residents, businesses and others affected.

These temporary road closures and other changes in the city centre are being made to create more space for people so they can pass each other on foot, queue for buses and queue to get into shops whilst staying two metres apart. Further changes are planned for the city centre and for neighbourhood shopping areas such as Culter, Torry and Rosemount. You can read more about these changes here.

When Lib Dem Group Leader Ian Yuill was first told about these planned changes by senior council staff he urged them to seek the views of residents and affected businesses. When they said “no”, he made it clear he thought that was wrong.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “People have told me they understand the need for temporary changes to be made in the city centre but they are angry that the council did not consult those who would be affected by the plans”.

“My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I would like to hear your views and comments on these plans. I would be very grateful if you could take a couple of minutes to answer a few questions.”

A944/B9119 Corridor Study

Aberdeen City Council is carrying out a study into the A944/B9119/Lang Stracht/Queens Road corridors following the opening of the AWPR last year.

The study is being undertaken in the context of the council’s revised Roads Hierarchy and in response to repeated calls for active travel improvements along the corridor and it’s identification as a priority corridor for improvement by the North East Bus Alliance.

Among other things, it is hoped that the outcomes of the study can feed into ACC’s application for a share of the bus priority infrastructure funding identified in the most recent Programme for Government once this becomes available.

Lib Dem Infrastructure spokesman Steve Delaney said, “The priorities of this route have changed over the past year as it has become a main route for accessing the AWPR from the west of the city”.

‘The current facilities for active travel along these routes is patchy at best, especially in respect of safe cycle provision but also for pedestrians who often have to share a path with cyclists. This will need to change if we are to encourage more people to make the modal shift”.

“This study provides a unique opportunity to identify how these routes can be re-designed and re-prioritised to better serve us in the future, in particular by incorporating significantly improved facilities for walking, cycling and public transport at the design stage”.

The council is currently only consulting stakeholders on these plans so there is currently no facility for the public to feed in their views.

A full public consultation is of course essential to coming up with a workable solution. The current intention is for the public to have their say later this year, though an exact timescale cannot currently be finalised due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 restrictions.

Further information will be posted as soon as details of the public consultation have finalised so everyone can have their say.

First Aberdeen Timetable Changes

First Aberdeen have confirmed that they will be revising their emergency timetables from Monday 19th April until further notice to accommodate the current levels of demand during the COVID19 pandemic.  The changes being made incorporate feedback from key workers in order to provide the most suitable journeys to allow them to travel to their places of work.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The changes in respect of the Nos 3, 13 and 23 are fairly minor during the week, other than the time of the last bus being 1-2 hours earlier dependent on the route. There are significant frequency reductions to the 13 route on Sundays and the last bus on all routes is 1-2 hours earlier as per the revised weekday timetables”.

“Although these are mostly minor timing changes during the week, please do check out the full timetables if you’re a key worker as a few minutes difference can result in a long wait on these reduced frequencies. Full details are available on the First Aberdeen website

Help For Communities

A new website and phoneline launched today, providing people all across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

The new Assistance Hub goes live this morning, pulling together links to the latest advice from a range of partners including all three local authorities, Police, Health, Red Cross, volunteers and community information. It is a site for anyone in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, with information for residents and businesses alike.   

The website address is www.GCAH.org.uk or call 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week). The number will complement other helplines, including Aberdeen City Council’s Crisis Support Line, which was launched last week and can be reached directly on 0800 0304 713.

The website is full of links with up-to-date information. The main objective is as a focal point for information and assistance for anyone affected by coronavirus anywhere in Grampian. It is also a way for residents to offer their support which they can safely deliver in their communities. Staff are on the phone to provide callers with up to date information, or to link them up with the right person who can quickly answer questions.  Another important feature is that the site can be used to request help on behalf of someone else, allowing friends and neighbours to signpost to someone in need. 

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill said, “There’s so many useful new websites popping up offering advice about the coronavirus, public services, the lockdown and much more, that people are getting confused about where to go to locate specific information”.

“The amount of work which has gone into Aberdeen City Council’s coronavirus page is commendable as it the Business Gateway, NHS Grampian’s dedicated resource and a number of others but now we need to join the dots so people can find what they need quickly and easily without having to check a dozen sites with the risk that they encounter misinformation amongst the wealth of fact based resources”.

“My advice is simple, make the Advice Hub your homepage and you can’t go wrong. It links directly to all the other pages but offers much more besides, in a user friendly interface. Thanks to all the public sector partners in our area for this invaluable resource”.

Further Reductions To Kingswells Bus Services

Following the temporary closure of most local businesses, bus passenger numbers have fallen even further.

With effect from Monday 30 March there will be further reductions to the frequencies of all Stagecoach services. Their new Kingswells timetables can be found here.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “Last week I raised serious concerns about the X17 starting an hour later than usual and the 14 starting two hours later, as these times were unworkable for shift workers. I’m pleased to say the 14 is now starting an hour earlier than last week, though still too late for most key workers on early shifts”.

“These new timetables, which start on Monday, result in the first X17 arriving at the Park & Ride at 06.44 then operating on an hourly service. The first 14 leaves opposite the medical centre at 07.09 and operates on a two hourly frequency all day”.

Steve continued, “Given the temporary closure of most places of work, it was only to be expected that passenger numbers would fall further. However, those who do need to get to work to support the efforts of the NHS, the Police, the Council, our supermarkets and our key supply chains are going to be put under additional stress and further inconvenienced by these service reductions”.

“I continue to have concerns for residents who have no option but to use public transport as reduced frequencies may increase the risk of more people on each bus, making social distancing somewhat challenging and potentially increasing the chances of spreading the virus”

A link to the new timetables for all Stagecoach services across our area and beyond can be found here.

First Reduces Services In Wake of Coronavirus

Following on from reductions in Stagecoach services earlier this week, FirstAberdeen has announced that its routes will operate on a Sunday services from Thursday 26 March 2020 until further notice.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill Steve Delaney said, “With all but workers in the NHS, the council, food stores and other key support and supply roles now in self isolation it had become inevitable that First’s services would be cut back”.

“Early morning services are to to commence at least an hour later and all services outwith the first few buses will run on a 30 minute frequency”.

“Everything has changed in the last 24 hours. For your own safety please do not travel on public transport unless you are a key worker or you require essential food shopping for yourself or others who are self isolating”.

Within our area the No 3 will start at 06.45, the 13 starts at 07.10 and the 23 starts at 06.40.

Full timetables for all First’s Aberdeen routes effective from 26 March 2020 can be found here

First’s Press Release is reprinted in full below.

First Aberdeen has announced that bus services will operate a revised Sunday timetable during the working week effective from Thursday, March 26th 2020, with additional morning journeys added in to ensure it sustains services for those key workers and emergency service staff needing to make essential travel across the region.

The bus operator is committed to continuing services wherever possible so that those who need to make essential journeys, like health service and emergency workers, can continue to do so.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including advice that people should leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and to fulfil any medical or care needs.

Recent days have seen bus passenger numbers continue to reduce as people adhere to the government lockdown

This is reflected across other sectors, all of which have had to review and reduce their operations in view of the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak.

First has written to the Local Traffic Commissioner about its intentions as well as keeping the relevant local authorities and key stakeholders up to date. Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Aberdeen, said: “With much of the UK effectively ordered to stay at home for at least the next few weeks, we have made the decision to move to a Sunday timetable to support those who still need to get to and from work and get out to shops and pharmacies, whilst fulfilling our own role as vital key workers during this time of national crisis.

“Just a few weeks ago it was almost inconceivable that these restrictions would be in place, which only underlines what a challenging, dynamic and rapidly evolving situation the UK faces, and one which First Aberdeen is monitoring and responding to day-by-day, hour-by-hour.

“It’s important to emphasise that we are in constant contact with stakeholders, including local authorities and ministers, and rest assured everything is being done to keep those key workers mobile as the nation comes together to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“We are doing everything possible to deploy staff across our operations with a view to minimising the impacts for everybody.

“Regular customers can be assured we will endeavour to get more frequent services back up and running as soon as the Government decides it is safe to do so.

“Please bear with us as given the fast-changing nature of the situation it will be difficult to keep all our communication channels updated with the latest information.”

The service information in the First Bus app for example, will not reflect updated timetables, so customers are advised to refer to the First Aberdeen website for the most up to date service information, travel advice and information about Coronavirus.


Emergency Timetables Axe Kingswells Early Morning Services And Reduce Bus Frequencies

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.

Tory Council Axes Kingswells Weekend Buses

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.

Kingswells South Junction Upgrade Scheduled for April

Transport Scotland have put forward a proposal to Aberdeen City Council to help resolve both safety concerns and excessive queueing at the Kingswells South junction of the AWPR. at peak times.

Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney has been campaigning for intervention at this junction for the last year, following a number of accidents, occurring on an almost daily basis.

He said, “The solution put forward by Transport Scotland is for the junction to be fully signalised with traffic signals on the roundabout itself and the two slip roads”.

“Thankfully these will not operate on a fixed timed basis like the Kingswells roundabout but will instead be triggered by traffic volumes. They will be linked into the council’s intelligent traffic management system which monitors all other movements on surrounding routes with the aim of optimising the number of vehicles getting through the junction whilst ensuring public safety”.

These works are expected to commence in April and last for about six weeks.

Steve continued, “I had concerns about works clashing with the closure of the C128C Kingswells to Countesswells road, but have received assurances the intention is for the AWPR junction upgrade to be carried out during off-peak hours”.

“There are bound to be delays during these works but the aim is to keep these to the minimum. Given the high number of accidents over the past year or so, it’s vital the works are carried out as soon as possible”.

New Services to replace Stagecoach’s X17 at Kingswells Park & Ride

Stagecoach has announced a number of their bus routes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. These changes will affect the current X17 route, the less frequent 218 service and the 747 airport service.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “”The most significant change for our area is the proposal to replace the X17 with three different services. Heading to and from the City Centre you can catch one of these three services every 10 minutes (Mon-Sat). If you’re travelling to Westhill, you have a choice of the 5 or 6 with four buses per hour (Mon-Fri). All three routes operate 7 days a week”.

“I am disappointed to say that the 747 which ran from Stonehaven to Aberdeen Airport via Kingswells Park & Ride is to be withdrawn after only a year of operation. As well as the airport connection, this service offered an easy connection to Stonehaven (and Montrose at certain times of day)”.

All three services will continue to use the Queens Road route followed by the current X17 service.

Only minor timetabling changes are proposed for the 218 but it’s still worth checking out if you use that service”

Stagecoach is claiming a 13 minute reduction in journey times from Kingswells Park & Ride to Aberdeen Bus Station. The proposed timetables can be found here.


Possible Solution To Kingswells South Junction Delays & Safety Concerns

A long awaited solution to the Kingswells South junction of the AWPR may finally be coming forward. As residents are aware, the road layout, combined with lengthy traffic jams at peak times, has led to a number of accidents and countless near misses at this junction where the AWPR meets the A944.

Transport Scotland have now confirmed they have worked up a possible solution and put this to Aberdeen City Council for consideration. They have given no details of their proposed solution other than to say that the proposed measures would help alleviate peak hour queuing on the AWPR from the diverging slip road.

Lib Dem Infrastructure Spokesman and local councillor Steve Delaney said, “It became obvious shortly after the AWPR opened that the Kingswells South junction was not operating safely. At peak hours the queueing is excessive and there’s been countless near misses and a number of accidents”.

“As a local councillor I have raised these concerns on numerous occasions dating back to March of this year. Initially I was told Transport Scotland would be reviewing the operation of the junction after 12 months of operation, which I found, quite frankly, to be a somewhat cavalier approach when people are risking their lives on a daily basis at this junction”.

“Later responses suggested they were actively monitoring the junction and had accepted an engineering solution would be required. Meanwhile as the first anniversary of the opening of this junction passes, we’re only now seeing Transport Scotland coming up with a possible solution”.

“Although I’m pleased to hear of a solution now being within reach, I fear we’re likely to be looking at some more months down the line before it is implemented. It’s an absolute disgrace that Transport Scotland has been aware of these safety concerns for at least nine months and are only now looking to progress a solution”.

“Meanwhile there’s been countless more near misses and several accidents, many of which could possibly have been avoided if these concerns had been acted upon much quicker. The sooner we see diggers on the ground delivering these improvements, the better”.

Work On Kingswells To Cults Road Delayed

Works on the C128c Kingswells to Cults road which were to close the road to through traffic for three months from 6th January 2020 have been postponed. This will in turn have a knock on effect on the enlargement of the Kingswells roundabout (north side) which is to commence shortly after completion of works to create a new C128C road layout (which also includes the enlargement of the Kingswells roundabout on the south side). The new start date for the C128C closure is estimated to be March 2020, but this is subject to confirmation.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I can appreciate people’s frustration with this delayed start, after having perhaps put in place alternative plans to get to work from January to March and of course some people will just be wishing for an early start to get it over and done with sooner”.

“However, I warmly welcome the delay as it does mean the road will not now be closed during the worst of the wintry weather, which would have caused lengthy diversions and much longer journey times at the worst possible time of year when people just want to get home from work and get warmed up.

“The knock-on effect is that about half the works on the north side of the Kingswells roundabout will likely take place during the Summer holidays when the roads are much quieter”.

“Make no mistake, these roadworks are going to cause significant disruption at any time of year. I’m just pleased to hear that avoiding works during the winter resulting in some of the works falling during Easter and Summer breaks will help minimise the adverse impact on local residents”.

Further updates will be posted as and when available.

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – Hogmanay

Start Date and Time : 30 December 2019 18:00
End Date and Time : 01 January 2020 06:00

Location : Hogmanay

Description : In connection with the Aberdeen City Council Hogmanay Fireworks event 2019.

The temporary traffic management arrangements are shown in the schedule below,and will apply at the times indicated therein. Road Closures From 10:00 on 31 December 2019 to 06:00 on 1 January 2020

• Rosemont Viaduct, between its junctions with Union Terrace and Blackfriars Street

• Schoolhill, (westbound) between its junctions with Blackfriars Street and Back Wynd

• Belmont Street, between its junctions with Little Belmont Street and Schoolhill.

• Back Wynd, between its junctions with Little Belmont Street and Schoolhill

• Upperkirkgate, between its junctions with Schoolhill and Flourmill Lane From 1300 on 31 December 2019 to 0600 on 1 January 2020

• Blackfriars Street, for its entire length

• St Andrews Street, between its junctions with Blackfriars Street and Charlotte Street

• Schoolhill (eastbound), between its junction with Blackfriars Street and Back Wynd. From 1800 on 31 December 2019 to 0600 on 1 January 2020

• Harriett Street, between its junctions with Schoolhill and Loch Street From 2100 on 31 December 2019 to 0600 on 1 January 2020

• Rosemount Viaduct, between its junction with Skene Street and Union Terrace

• Union Terrace (Whole Length)

• Diamond Place (Whole Length) From 2200 on 31 December 2019 to 0600 on 1 January 2020

• Windmill Brae, for its entire length

• Windmill Lane, for its entire length

• Bath Street, for its entire length

• Bridge Place for its entire length

• Belmont Street, between its junctions with Little Belmont Street and Union Street

• Little Belmont Street for its entire length

• Back Wynd, between its junctions with Little Belmont Street and Union Street

• Gaelic Lane for its entire length From 2330 on 31 December 2019 to 0045 on 1 January 2020

• Union Street, between its junctions with Crown Street and Market Street EXCEPT for buses travelling from Guild Street/ College Street via Bridge Street to Union Street – left turn only onto Union Street. Buses travelling in other direction to turn right onto Crown Street (see below for revocation)

• Bridge Street from its junction with Wapping Street to Union Street EXCEPT for buses travelling from Guild Street/ College Street via Bridge Street to Union Street – left turn only onto Union Street.

• Diamond Street, between its junctions with Diamond Lane and Union Street From 2350 on 31 December 2019 to 0030 on 1 January 2020

• Denburn Road (both directions, whole length). This will be facilitated with a mobile road closure by ACC Road Services Temporary One-Way system, From 10:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2019 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, travelling eastbound, for taxi’s only. Temporary suspension of One-Way system, From 13:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2019 St Catherine’s Wynd, Aberdeen, Temporary suspensions of turning bans From 10:00 on 31 December 2019 to 06:00 on 1 January 2020 Skene Street, Aberdeen, into Rosemount Viaduct (right turn), for buses only From 23:30 on 31 December 2019 to 00:45 on 1 January 2020 Union Street, Aberdeen, into Crown Street (right turn) Holburn Street, Aberdeen, into Willowbank Road (right turn), for buses only Temporary suspensions of no entry From 13:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2019 Union Street, Aberdeen, into Belmont Street for taxi’s and delivery vehicles only. Parking Restrictions From 18:00 on 30 December 2019 to 06:00 on 1 January 2020

• Diamond Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between Union Street and Ruby Lane.

• Bridge Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Union Street and Wapping Street.

• Union Terrace, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Union Street and Rosemount Viaduct.

• Schoolhill, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Back Wynd and Rosemount Viaduct including (Pocket Park)

• Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Belmont Street and Back Wynd

Alternate Route : Alternative routes shall be available during the closures.

School Bus Access During C89C closure

A recently published Road Traffic Order has caused significant concern across Kingswells. The proposed closure was of the C89C “Kingswells bypasss” from its junction with Kingswells Crescent at Derbeth to the Kingswells North junction of the AWPR from 2nd to 13th December.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This has very understandably caused concerns for parents as to how their children will get to and from school as this route is used by the school bus to Bucksburn Academy”.

“I contacted the council last Friday and have discussed matters at length with various people in the hope of finding a solution in respect the school buses. A meeting between relevant council officers took place earlier today and I now have more details of what’s proposed and the access arrangements which have been put in place for the school buses”.

The road closure is necessary in order for works to be undertaken to install street lighting on the section of road from the junction with Kingswells Crescent and the Kingswells North junction of the AWPR. This will involve the laying of underground cabling, so the closure is unavoidable as the road will effectively be operating as a construction site during this time.

The traffic order is for 12 days but it is expected the works will be completed sooner than this and the aim is for the road to be re-opened as quickly as possible.

Steve continued, “I am pleased to confirm agreement has been reached for the school buses to be given access to the closed section of road for both the morning and afternoon journeys but no other vehicles will be allowed through. The buses will have to proceed at a much slower pace so journeys will take a little longer”.

“I appreciate the road closure will cause significant disruption in respect of children attending after school activities and indeed for everyone who regularly travels between Kingswells and Bucksburn. Unfortunately this is unavoidable so the best we can hope for is an early completion of these works which, I’m assured, is everyone’s aim”.

“I have contacted Bucksburn Academy to make them aware of the revised arrangements and would ask that everyone reading this posting pass on the details to others who may not be fully aware of the situation”.

That meeting took place earlier today. The outcome was that …..

C128C Closure & Kingswells Roundabout Enlargement

Following on from concerns raised at Kingswells Community Council and those raised separately by a number of local residents, Councillor Steve Delaney met this afternoon with representatives of Countesswells Development Ltd.

Steve said, “I was pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with the developers to discuss residents’ concerns about the closure of the Kingswells to Cults road and the disruption this will cause. It was a friendly but frank exchange of views and I’m pleased to now be in possession of much fuller information to share with residents”.

“We discussed timeframes for various stages of the works and I made it known that Kingswells residents were unhappy they had not been offered any information, given that the works are likely to impact more significantly on Kingswells than the small number of people living in the new Countesswells development”.

The Kingswells to Cults road will close for three months from 6 January 2020. This timeframe was confirmed as being inclusive of all works on the C128C as well as the enlargement works to the south side of the Kingswells roundabout. There will be no through access to the C128C from the roundabout during this time on safety grounds.

The second phase of the works, which will see the enlargement of the Kingswells roundabout on the north side, is to commence shortly after conclusion of phase one. These works are timetabled to take a further three months. During this time the A944 will remain open but there’s almost certainly going to be significant disruption on the section heading from Westhill towards Kingswells (north carriageway only).

Steve said, “I wa assured that works will go on for no longer than is absolutely necessary and the time of year, being winter, has already been factored into the timetable. Both the developer and the council have confirmed the works to the C128C cannot be carried out safely without closing the road”.

“Having now seen the plans, the significant works to the Kingswells to Cults road will be particularly welcomed by everyone who uses that route. I just struggle to understand why it needs to take three months to complete, given that there will be no traffic on the road during construction works”.

“The enlargement of the Kingswells roundabout will help increase capacity but my view is that may still struggle to handle traffic volumes at peak times even after the enlargement due to the fact there’s no plans to widen the lanes within the roundabout and these narrow lanes have been a cause for concern from the outset with HGVs having to straddle lanes due to their size”.

Latest Update On AWPR Junction On A944

A number of concerns were raised earlier this year in respect of getting on and off the AWPR/A944 at the Kingswells South junction safely at peak times and also of lengthy queues.

Liberal Democrat Infrastructure Spokesman and local councillor Steve Delaney raised these concerns inito be told initially that a full evaluation would be undertaken after 12 months looking at various factors including accident statistics.

Steve said, “This really concerned me as it seemed like Transport Scotland were going to sitting back for 12 months waiting for accidents to happen. Even then, an assessment of the statistics and any recommendations arising from these would likely have taken a few months more. to agree, never mind to implement

After pursuing matters further Steve was given assurances that the situation as reported was “most certainly understood”, being “closely monitored” by their technical advisers and “should the monitoring indicate that enhancements to the junction are required, then these will be considered accordingly”. 

He has been in regular contact with council officers and Aberdeen Roads Ltd since then and can confirm there is now a recognition by Transport Scotland that an engineering solution is required in order to reduce queueing at peak times.

Steve said, “There is hardly a week that goes by without a constituent contacting me about either an accident or a near miss. Despite this, Transport Scotland appear to be in no hurry to address the issue.

“My understanding is that a report is to come to committee early next year outlining firm proposals on how to improve safety at the junction. I just hope it’s not too little, too late by then.

“Please rest assured I will continue to press for a solution to be taken forward an, more importantly, implemented as soon as possible”.

Changes in Temporary Traffic Order – Brodiach Road

Start Date and Time : 08 April 2019 07:00
End Date and Time : 22 April 2019 18:00

Location : Brodiach Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:00 on 8 April, 2019, until 18:00 on 22 April, 2019, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Brodiach Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with the A944 Skene Road and the city boundary at Brodiach Burn.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during carriageway surfacing works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Aberdeen City Council Roads Maintenance team on 03000 200292, or response@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via the A944 Skene Road, Westhill Drive, and Westhill Road.

New Temporary Traffic Order- Brodiach Road

Start Date and Time : 08 April 2019 07:00 
End Date and Time : 18 April 2019 22:00 

Location : Brodiach Road

Description : The effect of the order, which will operate from 07:00 on 8 April, 2019, until 22:00 on 18 April, 2019, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Brodiach Road, Aberdeen, between its junction with the A944 Skene Road and the city boundary at Brodiach Burn.

Access to properties will be maintained, but no through traffic will be possible.

The measures are necessary to protect public safety during carriageway surfacing works.

Any queries regarding this restriction can be directed to Aberdeen City Council Roads Maintenance team on 03000 200292, or response@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via the A944 Skene Road, Westhill Drive, and Westhill Road. 

Extended Opening Hours At Park & Ride Waiting Room

With effect from 11/2/19 the waiting room at Kingswells Park & Ride will be opened when the first No 747 service arrives and closed when the last bus departs, seven days a week, making it much more comfortable for passengers waiting for a bus, especially in cold or wet weather.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I first raised this matter some years ago following budget cuts which had left the facility unmanned.

“Temporary solutions were put in place from time to time but some fell by the wayside and most arrangements only covered a few hours a day on weekdays.

“With the introduction of the No 14 service last year I once again approached the council’s Public Transport Unit on this matter and they agreed to try to identify a solution and keep it under review.

“Now that the 747 Airport Service is up and running, Stagecoach has agreed to have their drivers open and close the waiting room at the start and end of each day, seven days a week.

“This is going to make a huge difference to local residents and make it much more appealing to use the bus to get to and from work”.

This arrangement will continue for the foreseeable future unless otherwise advised by the operator.

Need Assistance On Public Transport?

Thistle Assistance Card logo

The Thistle Assistance Card is the size of a credit card and can fit into the wallet of anyone who might need extra help when travelling about on public transport. 

It is supported by all seven Regional Transport Partnerships in Scotland, Transport Scotland, many transport operators and disability groups including RNIB, SATA and Disability Equality Scotland.

The card, and its associated App, are supported by a wide variety of voluntary organisations across Scotland and by most bus, train, tram, ferry and airport operators. It is credit-card sized and comes with a supply of peel-off stickers, which advise the driver or conductor of your disability and the help you need in an easy-to-read format.

The App is downloadable for both Apple and Android enabled devices from Apple App Store and Play Store.

This card has a series of stickers to attach to the card and personalise the information so that it can be shown to the bus driver to make them aware. The stickers illustrate needs such as mobility hearing and sight challenges. There are then further stickers showing that the passenger may need more time to get to their seat or a reminder of when they get to their destination. There is also space on the back of the card for information such as phone number of the family or carer.

If you would like to find out more information about Thistle Assistance Card you can visit the SEStran website, e-mail thistlecard@sestran.gov.uk or call 0131 524 5153.

Stagecoach Launches AWPR Services

Stagecoach have launched two new services which offer half hourly connections to Aberdeen Airport from Kingswells Park & Ride 7 days a week.

The 747 and 757 serve a number of locations on the AWPR including Montrose, Stonehaven, Kingswells Park & Ride and Ellon.

Service 747 offers a new link across Aberdeenshire and Angus. The new service will replace services 107 and current 747 and operates hourly throughout most of the day between Montrose and Ellon using the AWPR.

The service will operate from Montrose to Stonehaven before serving Kingswells Park & Ride and Aberdeen Airport. The service will then continue to Ellon and some journeys extend to Cruden Bay and Peterhead.

Service 757 provides a direct link to the airport from Portlethen and Newtonhill. The 757 service operates hourly throughout most of the day, 7 days a week, and will also stop at Kingswells Park & Ride.

Kingswells Park and Ride will benefit from both of the new bus services and, as a result, journeys from the popular Park & Ride site to the airport will be available by bus up to every 30 minutes, 7 days a week.

Both services will be operated by low-floor easy access buses fitted with the latest tracking technology as well as the ability to accept contactless payments.

A discounted ticket is currently available on the 747 and 757 to celebrate the start of the new services. Customers will be able to travel all day on either service for £6 when they buy their ticket on the Stagecoach mobile app.

This ticket is valid on the full route for services 747/757 from Peterhead to Montrose and offers customers over 60% saving.

For the shorter journeys such as Kingswells Park and Ride to Aberdeen Airport daily travel is available for £3.70.

Local councillor Steve Delaney, who attended the launch event earlier this week at Aberdeen Airport, said, “I must commend Stagecoach for this initiative which clearly demonstrates that the bus can offer a fast, reliable, cost effective alternative means of transport.

“The new route incorporates also stops at Bristows Heliport and Kirkhill Industial Estate at peak times, making it much easier for people to get to and from work quickly instead of having to make a lengthy and tortuous journey on two buses.

“It also opens up the opportunity for a day out in Stonehaven, Montrose, Ellon or Cruden Bay from Kingswells Park & Ride with buses leaving every hour.

“Last but not least is the 30 minute airport service which offers people living in Kingswells and indeed the wider area, the opportunity to leave their car at the Park & Ride and hop on a bus to the airport”.

Timetables for service 747 and 757 are now available to download at stagecoachbus.com. 

Printed copies will soon be available to pick up in Aberdeen bus station, Kingswells P&R, Ellon P&R, Peterhead Interchange and Aberdeen Airport.

AWPR Bus Services Start This Month

Following on from an earlier announcement, Stagecoach have now finalised their plans for bus services which will make use of the AWPR offering faster connections between Montrose and Ellon, using Kingswells Park & Ride, including stops at Aberdeen Airport and Kirkhill Industrial Estate,

Their full press release is reprinted below.

·        Bus services will make use of the new AWPR from 21st January 2019
·        Customer feedback shapes additional new route – service 757
·        Hourly connections from Ellon and Stonehaven to Aberdeen Airport
·        Half hourly connections from Kingswells P&R to Aberdeen Airport

Stagecoach North Scotland today confirmed two new bus services will begin operation on Monday 21st January using the AWPR improving journey times for those choosing to travel by bus.

Following the public timetable consultation in September 2018, the local bus operator has reviewed all feedback received and has finalised plans for the first bus services to operate on the AWPR.

Service 747 will be introduced on Monday 21st January offering a new link across Aberdeenshire and Angus. The new service will replace services 107 and current 747 and will operate an hourly frequency throughout most of the day between Montrose and Ellon using the AWPR. The service will operate from Montrose to Stonehaven before serving Kingswells Park and Ride and Aberdeen Airport. The service will then continue to Ellon and some journeys will also extend to Cruden Bay and Peterhead.

Service 757 will be introduced from the same date providing a direct link to the airport from Portlethen and Newtonhill. Residents in Portlethen and Newtonhill provided feedback in the timetable consultation requesting if a service could be introduced to the airport rather than connecting to 747 in Stonehaven. On reviewing the feedback Stagecoach has been able to introduce service 757 shaped by the feedback received from these communities. The 757 service will operate up to every hour 7 days a week to the airport and will also stop at Kingswells P&R.

Kingswells Park and Ride will benefit from both of the new bus services and as a result journeys from the popular Park and Ride site to the airport will be available by bus up to every 30 minutes, 7 days a week.

Both services will be operated by low-floor easy access buses fitted with the latest tracking technology as well as the ability to accept contactless payments.

The award-winning JET service 727 connecting the city centre to the airport up to every 10 minutes will continue to the current timetable.

David Liston, Managing Director, Stagecoach North Scotland said: “We are delighted to be able to start the new year by introducing two new services to our Aberdeenshire network. In our autumn timetable consultation we received a lot of support for the new service 747 providing a direct bus connection to the airport. On reviewing consultation feedback from residents in Newtonhill and Portlethen we have been able to identify a solution that means these communities will also be connected to the airport from 21st January. We look forward to welcoming both old and new customers on board our new services later this month.”

From Monday 21st January services 50, 54, 60, 61, 63 and 81are subject to revision in the Buchan Travel Guide. These revisions are minor with only some early morning journeys being re-timed and additional journeys on service 50 to accommodate the route revision on service 747 in the Buchan area.

Timetables for service 747 and 757 are now available to download online and printed copies will soon be available to pick up in Aberdeen bus station, Kingswells P&R, Ellon P&R, Peterhead Interchange and Aberdeen Airport.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Hogmanay

Start Date and Time : 30 December 2018 18:00
End Date and Time : 01 January 2019 06:00

Location : Hogmanay

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named orders to provide for a wide range of traffic management arrangements, under powers conferred upon it by Section 62(1) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, and Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, in connection with the Aberdeen City Council Hogmanay Fireworks event 2018.

The temporary traffic management arrangements are shown in the schedule below, and will apply at the times indicated therein.

Road Closures From 13:00 on 31 December 2018 to 06:00 on 1 January 2019 • Schoolhill, Aberdeen, between its junction with Blackfriars Street and Upperkirkgate.

• Blackfriars Street, Aberdeen, (whole length)

• St Andrew Street, Aberdeen between its junctions with Blackfriars Street and Charlotte Street.

• Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Schoolhill and the Union Terrace slip road.

• Belmont Street, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Schoolhill and Little Belmont Street.

• Gaelic Lane, Aberdeen, (whole length)

• Back Wynd, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Schoolhill and Little Belmont Street.

From 20:00 on 31 December 2018 to 06:00 on 1 January 2019

• Upperkirkgate, Aberdeen, between its junction with Schoolhill and Flourmill Lane.

From 22:00 on 31 December 2018 to 06:00 on 1 January 2019

• Harriet Street, Aberdeen, (whole length)

• Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Skene Street and the Union Terrace Slip road.

• Union Terrace, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Rosemount Viaduct and Union Street

• Skene Street, Aberdeen, from its junction with Woolmanhill Roundabout to its junction with Rosemount Viaduct

• Spa Street, Aberdeen, from the access into Denburn car park to its junction with Skene Street.

• Back Wynd, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Little Belmont Street and Union Street.

• Diamond Place, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Diamond Street and Union Terrace.

• The whole of Bridge Place, Aberdeen,

• The whole of Bath Street, Aberdeen.

• The whole of Windmill Brae, Aberdeen,

• The whole of Windmill Lane, Aberdeen,

From 23:30 on 31 December 2018 to 00:45 on 1 January 2019

• Union Street, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Crown Street and Market Street.

From 23:50 on 31 December 2018 to 00:30 on 1 January 2019

• Denburn Road, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Woolmanhill Roundabout and Wapping Street.

Temporary One-Way system, From 13:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2018

Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, travelling eastbound, for taxi’s only.

Temporary suspension of One-Way system, From 13:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2018

St Catherine’s Wynd, Aberdeen,

Temporary suspensions of turning bans From 13:00 on 31 December 2018 to 06:00 on 1 January 2019

Skene Street, Aberdeen, into Rosemount Viaduct (right turn), for buses only

From 23:30 on 31 December 2018 to 00:45 on 1 January 2019

Union Street, Aberdeen, into Crown Street (right turn)

Temporary suspensions of no entry From 13:00 until 22:00 on 31 December 2018

Union Street, Aberdeen, into Belmont Street for taxi’s and delivery vehicles only.

Parking Restrictions From 18:00 on 30 December 2018 to 06:00 on 1 January 2019

• Diamond Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between Union Street and Ruby Lane.

• Bridge Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Union Street and Wapping Street.

• Union Terrace, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Union Street and Rosemount Viaduct.

• Schoolhill, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Back Wynd and Rosemount Viaduct including outside RGC (Pocket Park)

• Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen, on either side, between its junctions with Belmont Street and

Back Wynd From 18:00 on 30 December 2018 to 22:00 on 31 December 2018

• Rosemount Place, Aberdeen, on the south side, between Skene Square and the west boundary of 25 Rosemount Place.

Consultation On Cross City Transport Connections

Aberdeen City Council is consulting on cross city routes to make sure the full benefits of the AWPR are locked in.

These are new roads designed to create direct links between residential areas and main centres of employment. The intention is for these routes to offer real alternatives to car use, making public transport and active travel more attractive for people to get to and from work.

Lib Dem Infrastructure Spokesman, Steve Delaney said, “As a city we need to ensure we make best use of the future transport opportunities afforded to us by the opening of the AWPR. In that respect I would encourage everyone to feed into the consultation and make their views known”.

“Whilst fully supporting the need to investigate these options, we would expect them to take full account the needs of not just motorists and public transport but also of cyclists and pedestrians in their overall design”.

“These should not be considered as desirable bolt-ons, otherwise we will simply dilute the sustainability of any such scheme”.

The council wants to know your views on the nine options under consideration.

The consultation runs until 30 November 2018 and can be accessed here.

More Diversions On The 14 Route

From 19 November a new timetable comes into play for the No 14 bus route from Kingswells to the city centre. These long awaited changes are designed to improve reliability on what has, to date, been a very poorly performing service. It had been intended for the changes to come in from 12 November but this will now be implemented a week later than originally envisaged

However, from 12 November to 6 January, Broad Street and Upperkirkgate will be closed for the Winter Village and all bus routes will be diverted. As a result, the 14 will operate via Union Square bus station instead. The council has given assurances that the expected improvements in reliability based on the new timetable operating from 19 November will not be affected.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “The need to alter this route once again, this time using a different diversion, is unhelpful for residents who just want to know how best to get to and from their destination without concerning themselves about what else is going on in the city centre. People want an easy life without constant disruption”.

“Everyone knows my view that Broad Street should be fully pedestrianised on the grounds of public safety and also to improve the pedestrian experience for everyone visiting the area. Lengthy enforced closures such as this merely reinforce that view from a different perspective with regard to confusion and inconvenience to the travelling public”.

“Surely it would make more sense to devise permanent routes which avoid Broad Street in the first place and do not require diversions during the time major events are being held in the city centre”.


Kingswells Buses Update

The poor timekeeping of the No 14 has been a bone of contention with Kingswells residents since the service was introduced some months ago.

People are accepting of the half hourly peak service (hourly off-peak) as long as the bus arrives on time.

Late running buses have caused all sorts of problems in recent months with people missing appointments, arriving late for work and getting stranded in town unable to get home.

Steve Delaney, Lib Dem councillor for the area, has received numerous complaints from residents and was in regular contact with the council’s Public Transport Unit throughout the summer.

Steve said, “Residents will be pleased to know that a new timetable is to be introduced on 12th November which will hopefully address the timekeeping issues by building in extra time for the journey”.

“In addition, an hourly service will operate on Sundays from around the same time. This was intended to be included in the contract from the outset but had to be dropped due to cost.”

“Funding was recently identified from monies raised as a result of fines from motorists who have used bus lanes or bus gates during restricted periods”.

The aim is to grow the service so it gets to a point where it no longer requires council subsidy. Despite the poor timekeeping, the No 14 has seen significant growth in passenger number since it took over from the shuttle bus at the end of April.

Steve concluded, “Stagecoach really need to get their act together this time and ensure that reliability issues and missing buses become a thing of the past.”

“Only when we get to the point where the service is once again financially viable will we have secured the long term future of this essential bus service”.

New Bus Stop For Kingswells Village Centre

A  new bus stop is to be put in place heading north bound close to the junction of Kingswood Drive and Kingswells Drive. Currently there is no bus stop between Broaddykes and the Health Centre as a result of numerous changes to bus routes which saw Kingswells Drive cut out of the route.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m delighted the council has agreed to put in place an additional bus stop near the shops to replace the redundant stop at the top of Kingswells Drive. This has been requested by a number of residents, especially people living in Kingswood Mews as well as people looking to stop off at the Village Centre on their way home”.

Council Backs Lib Dem Initiative On Community Speedwatch

Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Yuill has welcomed the unanimous backing of Aberdeen City Council’s Operational Delivery Committee for his proposal about introducing “Community Speedwatch” in Aberdeen.

Ian Yuill said “Community Speedwatch involves local volunteers being trained by the police to operate speed guns. The volunteers then monitor speeds at locations agreed by the police. The volunteers do not stop speeders or issue speeding tickets. What the do do is pass information about speeding vehicles to the police. Drivers recorded as speeding are then typically ‘educated’ by the police.”

Ian Yuill continued “I am delighted by the committee’s unanimous support for my proposal. Community Speedwatch works successfully elsewhere in the UK and I do not believe there is any reason why it could not work here in Aberdeen. I believe Community Speedwatch could help make a real difference to speeding in communities across Aberdeen.

“Community Speedwatch could reduce speeds and make our roads safer for drivers and pedestrians alike. I very much hope the police decide to introduce Community Speedwatch in Aberdeen.”

Kingswells Bus Event On Monday

The new Stagecoach No 14 service from Kingswells to Aberdeen City Centre picks up its first passengers at 6am on Monday 30th April.

The service follows the existing route through Kingswells before heading down Lang Stracht, Westburn Road and on to the city centre. It operates a 30 minute morning and evening peak time service with hourly buses off-peak and in the evenings.

Timetables are now available in the Park & Ride waiting room and Kingswells Community Centre and it is hoped they will also be available from other local outlets. The timetable can also be downloaded here.

Stagecoach will be holding a photocall at the bus stop on Kingswells Drive opposite Coldstone Avenue at 3.30pm this coming Monday to mark the launch of the new service. They will also be out and about in Kingswells on Monday morning promoting the new service with some free giveaways. There will be ongoing promotion of the service.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “Today represents a welcome step forward for Kingswells with a new Council funded service which serves the village and goes directly into the city centre six days a week”.

“What’s most important to people is that this new service is reliable and runs to time. I would like to thank all councillors for their backing of this initiative, I wish Stagecoach well with this new route and would encourage local people to make good use of it”.

“I’ll be out and about in Kingswells on Monday and I intend joining Stagecoach for their launch event at 3.30pm. Please come along and join me if you can. It is important that as many of us as possible come along to welcome this new route, a service we all fought hard for. Now it’s up to us all to help make it a success and to encourage other residents to give it a try”.

Please let your friends and neighbours know about Monday’s photocall as not everyone is online and it would be great to see a good turnout.

No 14 Kingswells to City Centre Approved By Traffic Commissioner

The timetable for the new No 14 bus service from Kingswells to Aberdeen City Centre has been approved by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner. The service will replace the No 94 with the No 94 returning to its previous ARI to Aberdeen Crematorium route. The No 14, which will be operated by Stagecoach, starts on 30th April 2018. The finalised timetable can be found below.

A downloadable printable timetable which also includes Stagecoach’s 218 and X17 services can be found here.

A New Bus Service For Kingswells

As we approach the first anniversary of the withdrawal of FirstAberdeen from Kingswells, a dedicated Kingswells to City Centre route is about to launch.

Last September Aberdeen City Council agreed to put the service out to tender and, as a result, the proposed service, which will be operated by Stagecoach, is set to commence on 30 April 2018 (subject to registration with the Scottish Traffic Commissioner).

No longer will the typical commute to work take up to three hours a day and no longer should people have to wait well in excess of an hour for a bus outwith peak times. However, the peak morning and afternoon services have been reduced from the 15 minute service offered by the shuttle bus to a 30 minute service. Passengers will be able to board and alight at any bus stop on the route, unlike the current limited stop service which operates to ARI.

The proposed route through the village follows that of the existing No 94 which will cease from that date. The new service will offer a direct route via Lang Stracht and Westburn Road to the City Centre.

The proposed route is as follows:-

Kingswells – City Centre

Kingswood Drive, Kingswells Crescent, C98C Chapel of Stoneywood, Kingswood Drive, Fairley Road, Old Lang Stracht, Westburn Road, Camperdown Road, Mid Stocket Road, Westfield Road, Craigie Loanings, Albert Street, Rubislaw Place, Alford Place, Union Street, Union Terrace, Rosemount Viaduct, Schoolhill, Upperkirkgate

City Centre – Kingswells

Upperkirkgate, Broad Street, Union Street, Alford Place, Rubislaw Place, Waverly Place, Albert Street, Craigie Loanings, Westfield Road, Mid Stocket Road, Harcourt Road, Westburn Road, Lang Stracht, Old Lang Stracht, Fairley Road, Kingswood Drive

The new service will not stop at the Park & Ride nor is intended to visit the bus interchange at ARI, instead stopping on Westburn Road. Anyone wishing to connect with the X17 will have to get off the bus at the top of Fairley Road and walk to the Park & Ride from there, or walk down Fairley Road to catch it on the A944 beside Kingswells Church. The new service has been contracted for two years and will be subject to regular monitoring.

The route will charge standard Stagecoach fares and Stagecoach season tickets can used on the service. This route is supported financially by Aberdeen City Council.

The new service will operate from 06.00 – 23.00 Monday to Saturday on a 30 minute peak time service and hourly off-peak. There will be no Sunday service. The same route will be used at all times of day, unlike the current service which operates a different evening route.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney, who campaigned alongside local residents for a replacement service said, “I am pleased to see this come to fruition but angry it has dragged on for so long. If councillors had accepted my original proposal to go to tender in March 2017 we would have seen a Kingswells to City Centre service up and running many months ago.

“Although I was more than happy to make the case with the council (and missed no opportunity to do so), the withdrawal of the X40 galvanised our community in Kingswells, both bus users and non-bus users, as everyone came together to support those who needed public transport to get to work, school, further education, health appointments and leisure activities.

“Without such a well organised grass roots campaign, I fear we may not have seen the shuttle bus replaced. Nothing outshines the real sense of community when people come together to look out for their neighbours and everyone who was involved in the campaign should take pride in the fact we once again have a bus service connecting Kingswells to the City Centre.

“The proposed service is an improvement on the No 94 in many respects, but there are some downsides. I would certainly have liked to have seen a more frequent early morning service and the provision of a Sunday service.

Timetables for the new service will soon be available from the Park & Ride waiting room and Kingswells Community Centre. They will also be put in place at bus stops throughout Kingswells shortly before the new service starts.

Kingswells Buses Update

Budgetary provision for supported bus services in Kingswells, as proposed by councillors last September, was agreed as part of Aberdeen City Council’s 2018-19 Budget last week. The service went out to tender a few weeks ago and these tenders have now been evaluated.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “It’s been a long struggle to get to the point where the council has agreed to invite tenders and put a budget in place to deliver the service. This could and should have been progressed a year ago. Nonetheless, things finally appear to be happening and an announcement is expected next week”.

“A preferred bidder has been selected and council officers are working through the details with the proposed operator. Due to requirements of procurement legislation no announcement can be made prior to 26th March 2018. Please note that I am not aware of who the preferred bidder is, nor do I have any details of the chosen route or the level of service being offered”

“Unfortunatelythe proposed commencement date has been put back from 2nd April to 30th April. In the meantime the current No 94 service will continue as normal”.

“Please rest assured I intend to get a Focus out within days of the announcement to ensure everyone, especially those who are not online, has the full details.”

“If anyone who does not deliver Focus is able to assist with deliveries next week, that would be appreciated as there are a few gaps in the delivery network and this needs to go out quickly.”

Proposed Changes to Stagecoach Services

Aberdeenshire Council has decided to withdraw funding from a number of supported bus services across their area which are run by Stagecoach.

As a result, it is proposed that the 220, which currently serves Kingswells with eight buses a day running to ARI, be withdrawn.

In addition, the Sunday evening frequency on the x17 is set to reduce from 30 minutes to 45 minutes.

These changes will take effect from 7th May 2018.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “I contacted Stagecoach for clarification following the appearance of a front page article in the P&J on Wednesday. They have confirmed these are the only changes which will affect Kingswells”.

“Although the 220 only offered an off-peak Monday to Friday service, it will certainly be missed by those who used it to attend hospital appointments”.

“Unfortunately this decision was taken by Aberdeenshire Council, whose interests do not include the Kingswells area, so there is no real prospect of persuading them to think again”.

Broad Street Safety Concerns Ignored

Aberdeen City Council has taken the decision to proceed with the “part pedestrianisation” of Broad Street despite strong opposition from people with sight and hearing loss and limited mobility, who had raised safety concerns.

The decision to proceed a shared surface for usd by pedestrians, buses and cyclists was taken by 23 votes to 22. Aberdeen’s Lib Dem Group had their dissent to this decision noted.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney had put forward a proposal to remove buses from Broad Street and to create a separate cycle route through the site.

Steve said, “I’m very disappointed that though Labour, Conservative and Independent councillors heard the safety arguments, they failed to listen to them. Unfortunately two Labour councillors who had previously spoken out publicly in favour of full pedestrianisation went on to vote along party lines.”

“Aberdeen’s coalition seem to be wedded to the idea that their way is the only way and I see this as a missed opportunity to have made Broad Street a safe, friendly and accessible space for everyone”. ”

“Although I highlighted particular safety concerns for people with disabilities, I was also of the view that mixing vehicles and pedestrians on a level surface with no kerbs or pedestrian crossings was both unpleasant and unsafe for all pedestrians”.

“If you’ve ever visited one of these areas you will be well aware you can never relax and as you’re constantly having to look out for vehicles. It’s really not a pleasant experience and not one I wanted to see us inflict on both residents and visitors to Aberdeen”.

“I felt that the voices of disabled people were drowned out by those of the private bus companies, regardless of the fact their scare stories of major disruption due to re-routine have not materialised. Whatever happened to adopting a safety first approach?”

“I would like to thank members of the public for contacting their councillors. I truly believe that without their intervention we would not have seen the late concession from the coalition to undertake a review after 6, then 12 months of operation. I sincerely hope there are no incidents before then. Clearly this matter will be re-visited and I hope that common sense prevails at that time”.

Members of the public highlighted a number of key points in their communications to councillors. These links can be found below.

Three year old Clinton Pringle sadly lost his life last year after being struck by a bus on a shared surface in Jersey.

Preston’s Fishergate had become a “no go” area for blind and partially sighted citizens resulting in changes being needed.

Guide Dogs initiated a judicial review against Kensington & Chelsea Council’s proposals for a shared surface in Exhibition Road, London in 2010. In that instance, the council agreed to amend the proposals to address the concerns of blind and partially sighted people.

Northumberland County Council scrapped a proposed shared surface in Stobhill, Morpeth following safety concerns.

There have been a number of accidents in Manners Street, Wellington, New Zealand after buses were allowed into a pedestrianised area.

This video illustrates some of the difficulties guide dog owners have experienced in Poynton, Cheshire following the opening of a shared surface in the village centre.

This short video shows a bus with an annoying warning sound passing through Boston in Lincolnshire, only to be followed by another just five minutes later.

Kingswells Buses Update

Further to the update in the February edition of Kingswells News a number of residents have been in touch wondering what’s going on regarding the future provision of bus services. Dates have slipped slightly but the process is back on track and the proposed start date remains as 2nd April 2018.

The deadline for submission of tenders was Friday 2nd March with the content of those tenders to be evaluated shortly afterwards, so in effect there is nothing more to report regarding the outcome and a further update will be issued as soon as the outcome is known.

The awarding of a tender is of course dependent upon the tender being within the allocated budgetary provision and being in compliance with the service specification outlined in the tender document. The further complication is that Aberdeen City Council is considering its annual budget on Tuesday 6th March.

Adequate provision for the service at the previously agreed budgetary level has been incorporated into the report to councillors. The danger, as with all budgetary matters, is whether or not it remains intact in the budget which gets passed by the council. On the bass that this was unanimously agreed on 20th September 2017, the likelihood of political shenanigans are minimal, but cannot be discounted.

Following on from that, subject to the budgetary provision being agreed, the bids will be evaluated and, subject to there being a successful bidder, the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland will be asked to fast track the registration of the new service. In the past she has been willing to do so, given the unusual situation currently prevailing in Kingswells.

Kingswells Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “This process has taken longer than it needed to. If councillors had agreed to go to tender on 9th March 2017 as I had requested, the new service would have been up and running months ago.”

“We are where we are and I’m hopeful all the pieces of the jigsaw will slot together and Kingswells residents will be able to benefit from a new regular reliable service into the city centre.”

“As a result of this process taking so long to progress there has understandably been much anxiety within the community. A number of valid questions have been raised and I will attempt to answer these below”.

    Questions about the new Kingswells bus service

Q. The 94 contract was set up for 12 months and should cease on or around 2nd April 2018. If there’s a delay in implementing a new service will wee end up with no buses at all?

A. The council has the option to extend or curtail the contract. My expectation is that the current contract would continue until such times as a new service was put in place.

Q. When will residents be consulted on the new route and the details of what is on offer?

A. There are no plans for further consultation. Drop in sessions were held on 12th and 15th October 2016 and a public meeting was held on 2nd March 2017. These were well attended and everyone’s feedback was collected from these events and used, as far as was possible, in the design of the new bus service.

Q. Which route will be used?

A. The tender specifies Lang Stracht as the preferred route. However, it is preferred not set in stone. There is provision for other routes to be considered and these will be assessed against a number of set criteria.

Q. What happens if no tenders are received or the amount of subsidy requested by bus companies to support the service is in excess of the available budget?

A. The matter is referred back to committee and nothing can be progressed until a decision is taken.

Q. What happens if the supported bus services budget is cut in the budget on 6th March 2018?

A. Kingswells is the top priority for allocation of this budget but what actually happens depends very much on the size of any cut and the matter would likely need to go back to committee for a decision.

Q. Is the continuation of a shuttle bus feeding the Park & Ride one of the possibilities?

A. The tender calls for an operator to offer a service which goes directly to the city centre. There is no requirement to call at the Park & Ride.

Q. What is the most likely outcome of a successful bid?

A. The extension of an existing route by one of the bus companies to include Kingswells rather than a standalone service.

Q. What frequency of service can we expect?

A. Committee approved that we tender for a 30 minute peak time service daytime, hourly service off-peak and evenings Monday to Saturday with an hourly service on Sundays. The hours of operation approved by committee was between 06:00 to 23:00 Monday to Saturday and between 08:00 to 22:00 on Sundays. What comes by from the tenders is anyone’s guess, but that was the minimum specifications set out by committee.

Steve said, “Please rest assured another update will be issued as soon as matters become clearer. This will not happen immediately after the budget as much work remains on assessing the bids, routes and timetables offered and registering the agreed route.”

“I have Focus deliveries geared up to go out soon after a the details are finalised so that every household in Kingswells is informed as soon as possible”.

Kingswells Buses Update

Kingswells residents are quite rightly raising concerns over delays to the introduction of a new bus service.

The current shuttle bus works for some people but not for others, dependent on where they need to go and when. Even when someone is able to use the service, journey times are laboriously long, often requiring three buses to reach their destination. Matters are further compounded with late running buses (both Central Coaches and Stagecoach), overcrowded Stagecoach buses and missed connections.

The report to councillors in September read as follows, “It is considered that a service should be supported with a 30 minute peak time service daytime, a minimum hourly service off-peak and in the evenings between 06:00 to 23:00 Monday to Saturday and an hourly service on Sundays, between 08:00 to 22:00. It is recommended where possible for any service to travel via Lang Stracht and Westburn Road as the feedback from the community has highlighted the importance of this link; however when doing so consideration would have to be given to the availability of funding”.

It was agreed at that meeting that a service running 7 days a week be put out to tender with an indicative timescale for tenders to go out in October and the new service to commence in January. For various reasons this has not progressed, but matters are now in hand.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney said, “I discussed matters further with officers just before the Christmas break and can advise as follows. The preparatory work for issuing tenders has now been completed. Tenders will be issued in January and the outcome should be known in the second half of February. The current target commencement date for a new service to commence is 1st April 2018”.

“In March 2017 I put forward a proposal to go out to tender for this service immediately with the shuttle bus running on a month to month basis pending completion of the process. That was rejected in favour of a temporary shuttle bus service which was to run for up to one year. It took until September to get a decision to progress what was originally suggested in March and we’re still no further forward”.

“By the time this matter is resolved, Kingswells residents will indeed have been without a decent bus service for a year. This was totally unnecessary and remains unacceptable. Please rest assured I will continue to work with others to ensure this matter is resolved as soon as possible”.

Stagecoach Consult On Changes

Stagecoach is inviting customers across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to provide feedback on new bus timetable proposals to commence 8th January 2017. Please see below for meeting dates/times. Apologies but this information only arrived on Sunday and the meeting is on Wednesday. Their press release (in as far as it affects Kingswells) is reprinted below.

The local bus operator has continued to assess and review the network, looking at the punctuality, reliability and usage of the routes particularly during the busy morning and afternoon peak periods. The operator has also been looking at opportunities to improve the services and connections that are offered by the bus services using the feedback received from its customers. The company is encouraging customers to have a look at the proposals and share their thoughts, whether in support of the revisions or by highlighting any concerns.

There is a revised routing proposed in Westhill for Service X17 to provide a two-way route that will also incorporate Broadshades. This will help to improve reliability of the service for those in Westhill connecting to Westhill Shopping Centre as well as improving the connections to Prime Four, and Aberdeen city centre. In addition, service 220 will connect to Kirkton of Skene from Westhill.

Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director, Stagecoach North Scotland said: “Following constructive customer feedback in our March 2017 timetable consultation we have again released our plans for 2018 timetables ahead of finalising for registration.

“We’re asking our customers and indeed prospective customers to let us know what they think, so we can take any comments on board before we finalise our plans.

“The changes we have seen across the whole of Scotland with declining passenger numbers is linked to a range of issues, such as the decline in the economy and the cost of motoring, which is the biggest competitor to a bus service, also becoming relatively cheaper. The increase in online shopping, more attractive car finance deals and a wider range of flexible working patterns are all having an impact on our services. So we have had to consider some changes to reflect the current levels of usage, just like any other business.”

“Customer feedback earlier this year was very helpful to us in making sure our services operated when and where people need them most. Our proposals are seeking to ensure that we operate reliably, as well as provide people with simpler and more direct journeys to their destinations to make sure that the bus provides an attractive option for people. There are a number of improvements that we are proposing and I am looking forward to seeing what our customers say about these proposals.”

In addition, the company is holding consultation events in the area giving customers the opportunity to speak to local staff about the proposals. Events are planned to take place from 6th to 13th November throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Monday 6th November – Aberdeen bus station, 3pm – 8pm
Tuesday 7th November – Inverurie Morrisons, 3pm – 8pm
Wednesday 8th November – Kingswells Park and Ride
Wednesday 8th November – Portlethen Asda, 3pm – 8pm
Thursday 9th November – Westhill Interchange, 6am – 8.30am
Thursday 9th November – Stonehaven Market Sq, 3pm – 8pm
Friday 10th November – Banchory Bellfield, 3pm – 8pm
Monday 13th November – Ellon Park and Ride, 7am – 11.30am

At the events customers will be able to pass on their feedback and gain answers to any questions regarding the proposals.

The proposed timetables and network maps are now available to view at stagecoachbus.com, all feedback is welcomed to nscotmarketing@stagecoachbus.com. All feedback received by 17th November will be considered ahead of plans being finalised.

Advanced Notice Of C128c Closure

Summary of the proposed Temporary Traffic Regulation Order for Cathodic Protection Works

Taking place over two weekends

from 07:00 on 11 November 2017 until 19:00 on 12 November 2017

from 07:00 on 18 November 2017 until 19:00 on 19 November 2017

Restriction: Prohibition of driving on the C128C Cults-Kingshill, Aberdeen, between its junctions with the C127C Blacktop Road, and the A944 Skene Road.

Alternative Route: via Countesswells Road, Springfield Road, Queen’s Road, and Skene Road.

Access to residence will be maintained.

All residence south of the closure will be required to access their dwellings via Blacktop Road.

The contractors have advised Cathodic Protection Works will take place at the two blue points on the map :

The first set of works will at the point in the road next to Kingshill Cottage.
Followed by the second set of works at the point in the road next to Newton of Countesswells and The Steading at Newton of Countesswells .

CAB Launches Survey On Bus Services

Citizens Advice Scotland has launched a national survey to find out peoples’ views on the quality and reliability of Scotland’s bus services.

Lib Dem councillor for Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill, Steve Delaney, said, “This initiative by Citizens Advice Scotland is very welcome, especially at a time when commercial bus services to Kingswells have been axed. I would encourage everyone to have their say, even residents outwith Kingswells as it’s all about the quality of service on our local buses. I have reprinted their press release with links to the survey below”.

The survey is available online at www.cas.org.uk/betterbuses. It is open to anyone based in Scotland and will run until Sunday 22 October.

Launching the new survey today, CAS spokesperson Ruth Mendel says,

“As Scotland’s consumer champion we want to find out how bus users feel about the services they use, so we can fight on their behalf for improvements.

“Although over 75% of all public transport journeys are made by bus, the views of bus passengers have often been under-represented in policy making. CAS wants to ensure these consumers’ voices are heard through this survey.

“The aim of this campaign is to get better buses for Scots. In order to do this we need to ask people what matters to them when traveling by bus, and that’s what the survey is all about.

“We know from our previous research that often people can’t get to where they want to go by bus, and that some essential journeys cost too much or take too long. It’s important that these stories are heard so that the people making the decisions can make the right ones.

“We are hoping this survey will be the biggest of its kind in Scotland, and we urge every bus user in Scotland to complete the survey so we can fight for better services.”

People have from now until 22nd October to complete the survey. You can find it online at www.cas.org.uk/betterbuses. #betterbuses. Or contact your local CAB for a paper copy.

Stadium Proposal Put On Hold

In an unexpected turn of events, following a delay in issuing the papers for consideration of the Kingsford Stadium proposals, the application has been withdrawn from the agenda for next Wednesday’s Council meeting. The statement issued reads as follows:-

A spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council said: “We can confirm that item 9(h), in relation to the application for planning consent for proposed community and sports facilities at West Kingsford, has been withdrawn from the agenda for the meeting of full Council on 11 October 2017 at the request of the applicant, Aberdeen Football Club.

“Having regard to the nature of the application and the associated complexities, and in light of the public interest, the Planning Authority has acceded to the request on this occasion.

“The request has been made to enable the applicant to seek further discussions and clarification to take place with the Planning Authority. If necessary, further planning consultation will follow.”

Kingswells, Sheddocksley, Summerhill councillor Steve Delaney said, “It is currently unclear what will happen next or indeed what timescales are involved”.

“As this is still a live planning application, it remains the case that councillors are not permitted to either express a view or discuss the merits of the application prior to it coming before the Council for determination”.

New Temporary Traffic Order Imposed – Kingswood Drive

Start Date and Time : 29 October 2017 09:00
End Date and Time : 29 October 2017 18:00

Location : Kingswood Drive

Description : Aberdeen City Council has made the above-named order in terms of its powers under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The effect of the order, which will operate from 09:00 until 18:00 on 29 October, 2017, is to impose a temporary prohibition of driving on Kingswood Drive, Aberdeen, between its junction with Kingswood Road and its eastern junction with Broaddykes Drive. The measures are necessary to protect public safety during ironwork repairs being carried out by Scottish Water.

Alternate Route : An alternative route is available via the C89C Chapel of Stoneywood-Fairley Road.

Update On Late Running And Full Buses At Peak Times

This week has been particularly challenging for Kingswells residents who rely on the X17 to get to work, with major holdups being experienced in the morning peak on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. As a result, a large number of people arrived at work late on these days. Added to this is the long running issue regarding a lack of capacity on buses from mid afternoon onwards heading back from the city centre, often resulting in people being unable to board and having to wait for the next bus.

Wednesday’s issue relating to the 0728 was as a result of traffic congestion in the city centre and the significant delays this had caused. As a result, the bus missed out the Park & Ride to make up time, which is a concern, given that bus operators are required to adhere to registered routes. Other issues, including a number in past weeks, have mostly related to a lack of capacity at certain times to accomodate Kingswells passengers following earlier pickups in Westhill.

Steve said, “I have drawn these issues to the attention of both Aberdeen City Council’s Public Transport Unit and Stagecoach. I have as a result received assurances from Stagecoach’s MD that he is aware of the situations and looking art how best to address matters. In the meantime he has arranged to put in place a double decker on specific runs to assist with capacity issues until a longer term solution is identified. This is in the process of being arranged”.

“I fully accept that sometimes buses can get held up as a result of circumstances beyond the control of their operators. However, having seen the queues on Wednesday morning (pictured above) and heard of the difficulties experienced by residents three days in a row, it was clear that swift action was needed”.

“Should such an issue arise again, please contact Stagecoach directly and copy your complaint to myself so I can follow it up with them”.

Kingswells Buses – A Way Forward

Councillors today agreed a way forward to address the gaps in public transport provision across Aberdeen, the most notable of which is the lack of commercial bus services in Kingswells following the withdrawal of the X40 in April and the subsequent shuttle bus connections to Stagecoach’s X17 service, which was introduced on a temporary basis by Aberdeen City Council in order to plug the gap.

It was also agreed that a licence would be sought to operate Council owned community buses to run and evening service to Airyhall and a Sunday service to Denmore.

In another twist to the Kingswells saga, this comes in the wake of numerous complaints from residents regarding the operation of the X17 service. There is a longstanding issue regarding capacity from mid afternoon on this service resulting in people having difficulty getting home from work on that service.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I have had numerous complaints over the last few days about late running and overcrowded X17’s in the morning peak. As a result significant numbers of people have been very late for work and this situation cannot be allowed to continue”.

“I have already made the Public Transport Unit and Stagecoach aware of the need to address this matter and will be raising it as a formal complaint with the Traffic Commissioner unless it is resolved forthwith”.

At today’s meeting it was agreed that future service provision for Kingswells will be put out to tender with powers delegated to officers to accept and implement an appropriate tender without it coming back to committee unless provision of such a service were to fall outwith the available budget for supported bus services.

The intention is for monies from the supported buses fund to support the extension of an existing commercial bus service as this would be more cost effective than a standalone service. The suggested frequency would be 30 minutes at peak times, 60 minutes off peak and evenings Monday to Saturday with a 60 minute service on Sundays. This would replace the 94, X94 and A94 shuttle services which were only ever intended as a stop gap.

Steve said, “There’s an element of frustration that councillors have today agreed to a proposal almost identical to what I proposed in March and the fact that residents have had to endure an inadequate service for six months more than would otherwise have been the case”.

“There is also a sigh of relief that a political consensus has been achieved on this matter and there now appears to be a genuine desire to address the issue, an issue which could easily affect any other community in the future”.

The intention is to commence the new service, subject to Traffic Commissioner approval from January 2018 and, as long as it survives the budgetary process for 2018/19, extend it from April 2018 for a further year.

Steve said, “We’re not out of the woods yet as this is dependent on interest from commercial operators and subject to their willingness to satisfy the specified service criteria. However, I am as confident as I can be that a solution will come forward which satisfies these requirements and offers a good quality service to Kingswells residents”

“I will of course continue to update residents as matters unfold”.

40Mph Speed Limit on A944 Now In Force

With effect from Monday 18th September 2017 the speed limit on the remaining sections of the A944 will be reduced from 50mph to 40mph.

This decision was taken by Aberdeen City Council on 24th January 2017 in respect of the A944 from the end of the 30mph zone at the new Maidencraig development and the B1119 from the end of the 30mph limit at Hazlehead. In both cases the change applies from these points to the Kingswells roundabout, effectively creating a 40mph limit to the city boundary.

The speed limit is being introduced in respect of road safety following a number of serious accidents and fatalities, to avoid confusion to motorists by creating a continuous 40mph zone and also in recognition of the changing character of the area towards residential with the Maidencraig and Countesswells developments.

Steve Delaney said, “as residents know, I have campaigned for a number of years to have the speed limit reduced to 40mph on safety grounds. Since the reduction on the section from Kingswells to Westhill there have thankfully been no further fatalities and no serious accidents, accepting that there have been a number of less serious incidents at the Kingswells roundabout, which I still maintain needs to be further improved”.

“In addition, the average speed has reduced considerably on a stretch of road were many drivers had previously been clocked at 70mph or faster”.

“When the previous speed reduction came into force a number of motorists were fined for speeding as a result of waning signs not going up until after the date of change. I received assurances that this will not happen again and have been informed that electronic signs will be in place from 18th September for a week to inform motorists of the change. The information is also on the Council’s website and was press released last week”.

Route & Timetable For Kingswells Evening Buses (94A)

The new Kingswells evening bus service, the 94A, started yesterday evening and will run Monday to Friday only. It will be operated by Stagecoach and normal Stagecoach fares will apply. The route will be Union Terrace, Blackfriars Street, Skene Square, Westburn Road, Lang Stracht, Fairley Road, Kingswood Drive, Kingswells Crescent, C89C, Kingswood Drive, Kingswells P&R, C89C, Skene Road, Queens Road, Albyn Place, Alford Place, Union Street, Union Terrace. In other words it goes into the city centre via Queens Road and returns via Lang Stracht.

This service will be funded by Aberdeen City Council until the end of March 2018.

Steve Delaney said, “I’m pleased to see an evening bus reintroduced for Kingswells, especially one which goes to the city centre. The different outward and inward routes is less than ideal but it’s a start. What’s important is that the Council agrees a longer term solution for Kingswells at its meeting on 20th September”.

The timetable is available here.

The route map is available here.

Steve added, “Due to time constraints it has not been possible to make these changes widely known. Please let your friends and neighbours know and re-post this message to ensure it gets to as many residents as possible”.

Extended Hours For Kingswells Buses

From 14th August 2017 the hours operated by bus services in Kingswells will be extended. The earlier morning start will commence from this date. However, an evening service was also due to commence on the same date but this is not currently possible as it awaits Traffic Commissioner approval.

Steve said, “I’m pleased to see this early morning service introduced but disappointed the evening service is still awaiting Traffic Commissioner approval. Please rest assured I will issue a further bulletin as soon as this is approved and the full timetable is available”.

“Due to time constraints it has not been possible to make these changes widely known. Please let your friends and neighbours know and re-post this message to ensure it gets to as many residents as possible”.

The revised timetable for Kingswells bus services from 14th August 2017 can be accessed from the link below.

X94 Kingswells Shuttle Service (6am version July 2017)

Update On Early Morning and Evening Bus Services in Kingswells

Further details were released today regarding the extended operating hours for Kingswells buses. As previously reported, the intention is for the first bus of the morning to start off from the P&R round the village at 05.50. This remains unchanged in the current proposals.

Evening buses are scheduled to run on an hourly basis with the last bus scheduled to leave Kingswells just after 23.00. It is proposed that the evening service runs directly to the city centre.

The start date for these changes is currently pencilled in for 14th August, subject to Traffic Commissioner approval. The delay has resulted from ongoing work to finalise the timetable for the evening service.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “I’m pleased to see this moving forward and will publish the full details online as soon as the route and timetable has been approved by the Traffic Commissioner. Better still that a direct link to the city centre is being offered”.

Kingswells Buses Latest

Bus services in Kingswells are to run from 06.00 – 23.00 on weekdays following the decision by Aberdeen City Council on 22nd June 2017.

The first No 94 of the day will leave the Park & Ride heading towards Derbeth at 5.50am, resulting in two additional runs in the morning. The service will extend into the evenings, running until 11.00pm. Matters relating to timetabling are still be finalised and, subject to Traffic Commissioner approval, it is hoped the increased hours will be able to commence from 31st July 2017.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “This will offer some solace to everyone who depends on the bus to get to and from work and is very much welcomed in that respect”.

“However, it remains the case that we have no weekend service and the daytime frequency leaves much to be desired. Hopefully we’ll see a positive longer term solution emerge from the Finance, Policy and Resources meeting on 20th September”.

Council Extends Hours Of Operation On Kingswells Shuttle Bus

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney today welcomed Aberdeen City Council’s unanimously agreement to increase the hours of operation of the temporary shuttle bus service which has been in operation in Kingswells since FirstBus withdrew services on 1st April 2017.

Councillors agreed to increase the hours of operation of the No 94 service to start at 6am and run until 11pm weekdays only. There remains no weekend service. The increased level of service will be funded until the end of the current financial year.

A report is coming forward to the September meeting of the Finance, Policy & Resources Committee with a view to addressing the lack of commercial bus services in Kingswells and other gaps in service across Aberdeen.

Steve has been campaigning for a full service to be restored to the area since First announced their intentions last September.

He said, “I’m delighted that all councillors have come together today to agree improvements to the No 94 shuttle bus service. I’ve said so many times before that the temporary service starts too late in the morning and doesn’t run late enough to be of use to shift workers. This improvement will be very welcome in Kingswells”.

“Having said this, the No 94 can only ever be regarded as a sticky plaster as the current service is too infrequent off-peak with around 1.5 hours between buses, does not run at weekends and is in effect only a feeder service for the X17 at the Park & Ride. Limitations of the current service results in residents requiring two, or often three, buses to get to their destinations, resulting in round trips of up to three hours a day, just to get to and from work”.

“What we need is a service which allows Kingswells residents to get to and from their destinations within an acceptable period of time. I look forward to proposals for a permanent solution for Kingswells coming forward to the September meeting’.

“Please rest assured I will continue to press for a longer term solution which runs 7 days a week, including evenings, and better addresses the needs of Kingswells residents”.

It is not yet clear what date the extended hours will commence from. A further update will be provided in due course.

No 218 Park & Ride Service Resumed

Stagecoach’s 218 is essentially the replacement for the X18, calling at Kingswells Park & Ride, albeit with a much reduced frequency.

Unfortunately this service stopped picking up and dropping off passengers at the Park & Ride without prior warning over two weeks ago. Local councillor Steve Delaney has been working with Stagecoach to have this link restored.

Steve said, “I’m pleased to say that Stagecoach have confirmed they will resume the picking up and dropping off of passengers on the 218 service at Kingswells Park & Ride with immediate effect”.

“No boardings will be permitted after Kingswells on the way in to the city centre and no drop offs will be permitted before Kingswells on the way back towards Alford”.

Council Dithers And Delays On Kingswells Buses

Each year councillors are presented with a list of projects which can be funded as a result of fines collected from drivers caught using bus lanes. These monies can only be used to support initiatives which deliver on priorities set out in the Council’s Local Transport Strategy.

One of the proposals included funding to mitigate the loss of bus services in Kingswells Village and the Dubford/Danestone areas, as well as the removal of the service linking Aberdeen Airport to Dyce Railway station. This initiative was in the list of new projects which would be progressed as more fines were collected throughout the year, but it was ranked 16th on the list.

Liberal Democrat Infrastructure Spokesman Steve Delaney said, “I was pleased to see this proposal on the list but in reality it was never going to happen, sitting in 16th place. For that reason, I asked for it to be moved to third place on the list. Unfortunately this attracted no support from other councillors at the committee”.

Councillors instead decided to hold back on a decision regarding Kingswells buses pending a fuller report on bus services across the city which comes to full Council on 21st June.

Steve said, “I find it hard to believe that prioritising the employment of a cycle officer, the funding of number plate recognition technology and the reinstatement of a walkway, to name just three projects, should rank above ensuring that Kingswells is not left without a bus service. This really beggars belief. I made it clear to fellow councillors that Kingswells can’t wait for a city wide solution and that I would be expecting to see proposals specific to Kingswells next month”.

Regardless of the unwillingness to fund a service from these monies, there did appear to be a cross party understanding of the issues affecting Kingswells residents and an acceptance that matters must be resolved as a matter of priority. On that basis Steve will continue to work with Council officers and indeed across party lines to ensure that a solution is found.

He added, “Although deeply disappointed by today’s outcome I will take people at face value in the meantime. Clearly the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we will hopefully see some meaningful progress on 21st June”.

Latest News On Kingswells Buses Situation

First Train Drivers In Kingswells

Over the last couple of weeks FirstAberdeen have been training drivers in Kingswells. This has understandably angered local residents. Steve Delaney, who saw two drivers being trained in Kingswells said, “This really beggars belief following on from First pulling out of Kingswells. I’ve been contacted by a number of residents who were clearly upset by by First’s display of total arrogance and insensitivity”.

“I appreciate they can train where they like, but this is surely rubbing salt into the wounds. Besides, drivers don’t need to be familiar with Kingswells any more so there’s no defensible reason for doing so. Clearly First has no shame, though I doubt that comes as a surprise to Kingswells residents”.

Some Connection Problems With the No 94 Shuttle Bus

Generally speaking the No 94 shuttle bus has been working well for those who are able to make use of it, accepting of course that many cannot do so as a result of its restricted hours of operation. Unfortunately there have been some issues with Stagecoach drivers pulling off from the P&R just as the 94 was coming in, resulting in people being late for work.

Steve Delaney has raised this with Stagecoach. Whilst they cannot hold up their services waiting for any late buses, they have agreed to hold back a minute or two if the 94 is within sight they prepare to pull off. However, some of the issues relate to the 94 timetable which is designed to link with the new X17 which comes into play from 8th May. When these changes come in there should hopefully be less issues arising in respect of connections.

Steve Delaney said, “The 94 is working well for some people but is completely useless for others. It can only ever be regarded as a stop gap solution and we need to get a better service in place as soon as possible. Subject to being re-elected on 4th May, you can be reassured this will remain my top priority”.

First Week Of The 94/X94 Bus Service

Initial feedback on this service has been mostly positive, following initial problems at the start of the week, but it is clear that that can never be more than a “sticky plaster” until a full service is put in place.

Some people had issues catching the bus on Monday as the drivers were not stopping at all the bus stops. This was further compounded by several X17 services not turning up during morning peak.

Matters were not helped by someone removing the bus timetables from the bus stops last weekend. This was quickly resolved but did cause initial problems. There was also confusion caused as to which bus stops were being used as all the bus stops said that no services stopped there! Again, quickly corrected.

Unfortunately the bus does not stop at intermediate stops outwith Kingswells. This is not good news for people who work at Woodhill House who have to walk to/from ARI, despite the fact it passes Woodhill House anyway. There are no doubt other places of work affected in a similar manner.

Overall journeys are lengthy and inconvenient as a result of requiring two or three buses to reach your destination. The real test will of course be when everything returns to normal after the Easter break and whether or not the X17 has sufficient capacity.

Please continue to keep Steve advised of any further difficulties you encounter with the service so I can feed these back to the Council.

NHS Shuttle Bus

It was mentioned at the public meeting on 30th March that NHS Grampian would be running a shuttle bus directly between ARI and Kingswells at certain times of day to ensure NHS staff can get to and from work following the withdrawal of the X40.

There was a glimmer of hope that they may also allow local Kingswells residents to make use of the service. Local councillor Steve Delaney explored this possibility with NHS Grampian earlier in the week.

He said, “This is a temporary service put in place by NHS Grampian during the construction of their car park at ARI in order to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the X40. It is in place until July and there’s currently no commitment beyond that date. Unfortunately they are unable to transport Kingswells residents on that service as it is only available to NHS badge holders, who will be required to show their ID badges”.

“In order to transport non-employees, they would need to register the route with the Traffic Commissioner and drivers would require specific licences. Sadly this is not an option for them on a short term service”.

“I would hope that Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian can work more closely towards finding a solution that works for both NHS employees living in Kingswells and indeed the wider population of Kingswells”.

Kingswells Buses Meeting

The public meeting to discuss bus services in Kingswells was held on 30th March and was attended by over 250 people. Clearly nobody was happy about the No. 94 bus service as it doesn’t meet anyone’s needs.

It was confirmed by Council officials that the No. 94 service has been contracted to run for AT LEAST five months. A report is to be brought to committee in June, looking at future options for Kingswells.

Residents were angry that the service on offer does not adequately cover morning and evening peak periods as well as omitting evenings and weekends. People were also concerned about how to get to and from work and medical appointments.

The Council’s Transport Spokesman repeatedly referred to a recent decision to look into the possibility of the Council running its own bus service and also of possible changes in the forthcoming Transport Bill. Neither of these initiatives could be progressed in the short term, so they were in effect offering no solution (and perhaps raising false hope) with respect to the immediate issues faced by Kingswells residents.

Steve Delaney told meeting that the service on offer sells Kingswells short and a permanent solution must not be “thrown into the long grass” while the Council prevaricates over its own bus company or waits for possible regulatory changes. He also expressed his frustration that the prospect of this situation arising had not been budgeted for and that it had taken more than two weeks to progress matters to committee in respect of decision so close to the termination of the X40 and No. 11.

Afterwards He said, “I share the annoyance felt in Kingswells that councillors failed to back the proposal I put forward to allocate funding and go to tender immediately. This was intended to minimise the use of the No. 94 and introduce a standalone service sooner than is currently possible”.

“What we now have is the hiatus brought about by the council elections, which I had tried to avoid, and a decision, if we’re lucky, in June. In the meantime, are Kingswells residents just meant to sit back and wait?”

“Please rest assured I remain furious about this and I remain committed to ensuring that this inadequate service is replaced by one which runs 7 days a week including evenings, at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Kingswells Residents Sold Out By Aberdeen City Council

Today Aberdeen City Council debated a report with proposals on how to mitigate the withdrawal of bus services from Kingswells village from 1st April 2017.

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”.

Council Considers Kingswells Buses Next Week

Following a request from Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney to the Council Leader to call an Urgent Business Committee to discuss the bus situation at Kingswells, some progress has been made.

It has been agreed that a report will go forward instead to the Finance, Policy & Resources Committee on 9th March.

Steve said, “The Council Leader contacted me today to advise of this decision, which I welcome. She agreed with me that ‘time was of the essence’ and I thanked her for moving this matter forward”.

“Hopefully the unanimity we saw in respect of my motion last October will prevail and we will see a real coming together by all councillors to ensure Kingswells residents can access public transport like everyone else in Aberdeen”.

In the meantime there has been another development following Stagecoach’s statement last week that they did not consider it commercially viable to offer a service to Kingswells village as they are now consulting on bus route changes planned for 1st May 2017. Two routes will call at the Kingswells Park & Ride as at present but with reduced frequencies.

The X17 will continue to call at Park & Ride site every day on a revised timetable. The first bus will be at 0549 Mon-Fri, 0619 Sat & 0816 Sun. Frequency will be every 15 minutes Mon-Sat and 20 minutes Sun for most of the day. The route will continue to serve Queens Road.

The X18 is being replaced by the 218 and the 220.

The 218 will call at Park & Ride site four times a day, representing a significant reduction in service over what is currently provided. The only 218 on offer during peak times is at 0732 with around 3 hours between buses. This route will continue to operate via Lang Stracht but will terminate at ARI.

With Kingswells Village Centre almost a mile from the Park & Ride and the northern edge of the village around two miles away, these services are of no use whatsoever to a large number of Kingswells residents.

The new service 220 is destined to serve Kingswells village but only operates Mon-Fri from 0908 – 1813 on a 60-90 minute frequency.

The consultations will be held at St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen from 10am – 4pm and at Westhill Academy from 7.30pm – 9pm, both tomorrow 2nd March! More details and timetables.

Steve said, “This is becoming farcical now. The number of Stagecoach buses operating from the Park & Ride has been halved during morning peak times and, though they are now offering a service to the village, there’s no morning peak service. They are clearly failing to provide services at the busiest times of day when people most need them”.

“If this is Stagecoach’s idea of making the route commercially viable, they are clearly having a laugh at the expense of Kingswells residents. To turn down business during morning peak makes no business sense at all. As well as forcing those who do drive back into their cars, not to mention the increased congestion, this is leaving non-car owners unable to get to work and children who go to school in the city centre unable to get to school”.

“Clearly a 60-90 minute service to Kingswells village with no morning peak service, no evening service and no weekend service completely fails to address the needs of local people. I have already been in touch with Stagecoach asking them to clarify their position but as of today’s date they have not responded. I therefore have no option but to call on Aberdeen City Council to provide a supported service which addresses the social and economic needs of Kingswells.

Stagecoach says NO to Kingswells

Following First’s decision to axe all services to Kingswells from 1st April, Stagecoach have been in talks with Aberdeen City Council with a view to possibly extending one of their services into Kingswells. In fact things were looking pretty positive initially though there were a number of practical and operational issues which had to resolved. Steve Delaney, Lib Dem councillor for the Kingswells area has been in regular touch with both Stagecoach and the Council’s Public Transport Unit throughout.

Steve updated fellow councillors at this afternoon’s Budget meeting that Stagecoach’s MD has confirmed that they do not consider such a service to be commercially viable for them and they will not therefore be putting forward proposals to serve Kingswells village. The Lib Dem Group proposed increasing the supported bus services budget to £500,000 at that meeting. Neither the SNP nor Administration budgets allocated any increase for supported bus services, having known for five months that the Kingswells service is under threat.

He said, “First have got greedy and they are starting to pick off their less profitable routes in order to maximise what they can squeeze out of Aberdeen. Personally I think it’s an absolute disgrace that this FTSE rated company which was born in Aberdeen lacks a moral compass and has no sense of social responsibility”.

Steve has already written to the Council Leader asking her to call an Urgent Business Committee to consider a proposal from officers on the best way forward and rhe eminded councillors of their previous unanimous support to ensure that Kingswells residents are not left without a service. He also spoke of withdrawal of this route as the thin edge of the wedge and called on councillors to raise concerns with their MSPs regarding the need for better regulation of bus services.

Steve said, “This is a devastating blow for Kingswells residents. A number of residents, some of whom are elderly or disabled, don’t drive and they need the bus to get to work, to school and to medical appointments. There are also a number of businesses in Kingswells which rely on staff from outwith Kingswells and many of them use public transport. Clearly staff working at Kingsmead Nursing Home, Great Western Nursery and After School Club, Kingswells School and other local business are likely to be affected”.

Steve said, “I would urge all councillors to get behind the people of Kingswells and ensure a replacement service is put in place as quickly as possible. My fear it that the tight timescale could result in people being left without a service for a period of time and that’s simply unacceptable. We need to move fast on this to ensure a Council sign off for a replacement service is put in place as soon as possible”.

The onus now falls to Aberdeen City Council to consider providing a supported bus service. Whether or not that happens and if it does, the level of service provided, is currently unclear.

Further updates will be issued as more information becomes available.

Kingswells Buses Axed By First

kingswells-last-with-background-smallFirst Aberdeen has now submitted notice to withdraw all services from Kingswells with their last day of operation being 1st April 2017. Following their shock announcement last September, the confirmation has now been received by Aberdeeen City Council. This follows on from two public drop in sessions and numerous meetings between the council and First over the past few months.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney has been working with all interested parties throughout. He said, “This has hardly come as a surprise, but it takes nothing away from the anger surrounding their decision. My view remains that First will always put profit before people and they have absolutely no regard for the social or economic impact of their decisions”.

“From the outset I made it clear that my aim was to ensure we retain bus services to the village, so we must now look towards securing the best possible outcome for Kingswells”.

Steve had a very positive meeting with Stagecoach’s management recently. He said, “Stagecoach has shown an interest in operating a service in Kingswells and are currently looking at how best they may be able to serve the area. This is not cut and dried, but they are interested and I remain hopeful of a positive outcome”.

Aberdeen City Council intends holding a public meeting in Kingswells next month, by which time the final outcome should have become clearer. It is vital that as many people as possible attend this meeting.

Steve said, “We’re not out of the woods yet as some challenges remain, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I will of course keep everyone up to date as more details emerge and I am currently preparing a Focus newsletter for distribution as soon as I have more information”.

Fairley Road Bus Diversions

PARK_AND_RIDE_010Some confusion arose this week when buses did not follow the previously advertised diversion route during roadworks on Fairley Road.

The route had been changed but the diversion had not been updated on First’s website. The correct details are as follows:-

Service 11 evenings and all day Sundays in both directions

Fairley Road will be closed to service 11

• Normal service to last stop on Kingswood Drive
• Continue straight on towards P&R site traffic lights
• Left into Newhills Road
• Continue down to Roundabout then normal service

Service x40 in both directions

• Normal service to last stop on Kingswood Drive
• Continue straight on to P&R site
• When leaving P&R turn Right into Newhills Road
• Continue down to Roundabout
• Left into Westhills Road
• Left into Old Lang Stracht
• Continue on normal service

Bus Diversions During Fairley Road Works

40 Bus_sThere will be diversions on the No 11 and X40 routes during roadworks in Fairley Road. The first phase on the southern leg is ongoing and programmed to conclude by 14th January.

The second phase relates to the northern half of Fairley Road. This will not commence until the first phase has been completed and it is expected to be in operation until 5th February. These diversion affect people living in Fairley Road, Edmond Gardens, Whiterashes and Old Skene Road. Full details can be found here.

Santa Claus To Open C128C!

StevesantaThought that headline might get your intention. In reality he’s had to politely decline as he’s far too busy. At least we can rest assured the reindeer won’t incur a fixed penalty notice when delivering in the area on Sunday!

Seriously though, it has been confirmed that the long awaited re-opening of the Kingswells to Cults road will take place on 23rd December 2016. The road is due to re-open by 6pm, but the exact time may vary.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “After 20 weeks of closure this can’t come soon enough. The additional congestion on other routes as well as increased journey times has been an absolute nightmare for local residents”.

“Please note that there have been some changes to the road layout, so I would advise everyone to take extra care until you get used to the new layout. In addition there will still be some ongoing works on the roadway, footpaths and verges, so caution is advised.”

Thankfully there are no plans for any further closures of this road. However, there will be a section of Countesswells Road closed from 16th January 2017 for about eight weeks to complete the task of getting gas, electric, water and telephone connectivity into the Countesswells development site. Appropriate diversion will be put in place.

Update On Kingswells Buses Expected In January

busFollowing on from the public consultations, options are being considered and there is ongoing dialogue between FirstAberdeen and Aberdeen City Council. There will be a further meeting in January and FirstAberdeen has agreed not to make any changes to Kingswells services prior to that meeting. Aberdeen City Council has reconfirmed its commitment to hold a public meeting in Kingswells once matters become clearer.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I can fully understand the concerns within Kingswells and the time this is taking does not help to allay those fears. However this does mean that the services cannot now be withdrawn until some time in March, if indeed this is the outcome. It’s still too early to say if any replacement service might be taken up by Stagecoach or if it will fall to the council”.

“My position has always been to ensure that residents must not be left without a bus service. Whether that’s provided by FirstAberdeen, Stagecoach or another company is secondary to the argument. People need to be able to get to work, school, medical appointments and to socialise. I will continue to work with all relevant organisations to ensure this is delivered”.

“Please rest assured there will be a further update as soon as I have some useful information to share with you”.

Kingswells’ Community Stars

PARK_AND_RIDE_010Sunday 27th November 2016 saw individuals across Aberdeen recognised for their hard work in communities across the city. This year Eric Clark,  Jim Henderson, Pam Hudson, Aleen Shinnie and Jeanette Taylor were all recognised as “Community Stars” at a civic reception in the Town House to celebrate those who have contributed towards making local communities better places for all of us. 

These five Kingswells residents were responsible for organising the petitions opposing First’s intended withdrawal of bus services from Kingswells and collecting over 2,000 signatures. They all helped gather feedback at the drop in sessions in order to help the council understand the full impact of the proposed withdrawal and help them to plan for the future.

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “This annual event was introduced a few years ago to offer a thank you from the council to those who make a real difference in their local communities. Sometimes nominees have contributed over many years, in other cases they may have made a huge impact over a shorter period of time. Either way, those who are recognised have made a real difference”.

“My warmest congratulations go to Kingswells’ winners for 2016. You really deserve the recognition for all your hard work”.

No 13 Reliability Issues

first_platinum13_024Following complaints from residents, Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney has raised the issue of poor timekeeping on the No 13 bus route with FirstAberdeen.

FirstAberdeen have advised that they are aware of this and are looking to make some adjustments to certain journeys in order to improve timekeeping. Unfortunately, the hoped for increase in frequency following the introduction of the Platinum service last year is not planned in their short term plans.

Steve said, “I’m disappointed that this well used service remains on a 20 minute frequency and have asked FirstAberdeen to give this matter further consideration once the city centre disruption of the next few months has passed. Clearly the top priority is to address the reliability of the service and I welcome their commitment to address this”

Announcement Expected On Bus Services

busAs of today’s date FirstAberdeen has made no announcement of their intentions with respect to the X40/11 services to Kingswells. Clearly their intention to withdraw services from the end of the year has now passed as they are required to give ten weeks’ notice prior to terminating a service.

Having said that, I am expecting an announcement from them soon, possibly within a matter of days. Whether that’s a withdrawal of service around the end of January, a continuation until July 2017 to assist hospital workers during the ARI car park closure or another, as yet unknown alternative, is anyone’s guess.

I have recently received a response to my submission to the Public Transport Unit on behalf of Kingswells residents. Their response contained some information which was of a confidential nature and had to be redacted prior to it being made public. I thank them for their assistance in this as I was keen to ensure that everything which could be made public was made public.

There will of course be further updates are the picture becomes clearer.

Taxi Fare Review

drop-offAberdeen City Council’s Licensing Committee met on 25th October 2016 to consider a review of taxi fares in Aberdeen. It was agreed there would be no change to the existing tariff structure, which is to be reviewed and reported back to committee. Any proposed changes are likely to be introduced at the next usual review of fares around April 2018.

However, the request to increase the airport drop off charge from £1 to £2 to recompense drivers for the increase brought in by Aberdeen Airport was approved.

Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney, who spoke at the meeting asked the committee to write in the strongest terms to Aberdeen Airport requesting they drop the drop off charge. He also asked, and received assurances from the taxi trade, that passengers be advised they can request to be dropped off at the long stay car park to avoid paying the charge.

Steve said, “This charge is unjust. It’s not a parking charge, it’s a drop off charge with vehicles moving on as soon as they drop off their passengers. It’s no more than a cash cow for Aberdeen Airport and damages the reputation of the airport and the city. They should listen to their customers and scrap it now”.

This Week’s Kingswells Buses Update

PARK_AND_RIDE_010The feedback from the consultation events on 12th and 15th October is being analysed by the Public Transport Unit. FirstAberdeen has not yet commenced the de-registration process.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “As a result of the 10 week notice period not yet being invoked, the service cannot now be terminated before January. This gives us some comfort that we’ll see the festive season out before we face further challenges, but the threat remains real. I expect an announcement from FirstAberdeen in the next week or two and will update on next steps at that point”

Communities, Housing & Infrastructure Meeting 1st November 2016

Town HouseThis committee has overall responsibility for Trading Standards, Bon Accord Care, Aberdeen Crematorium, Aberdeen Heat & Power, council housing, community centres, waste collections, environmental services, roads, pavements, street lighting and a whole lot more.

They also receive reports from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and Police Scotland and question senior officers. Their next meeting takes place on Tuesday 1st November at 14.00 at the Town House and is open to the public.

Notable items for discussion are a request for taxis to be permitted to use bus gates, a Police Scotland report on serious and organised crime, proposed changes to housing allocation policy, various road traffic orders (new and in progress), AWPR side road speed limits and this year’s winter maintenance programme.

This meeting is open to the public and the full agenda can be found here.

ARI Car Park Latest

_90484108_aricarparkIt has been confirmed that the long awaited construction works to build a multi-storey car park on the ARI site will commence on 24th October 2016. During this time there will be no visitor parking on site and very little staff parking. The construction works are expected to last until next summer. Although this will create difficulties for visitors getting to ARI, the underlying challenge is for NHS staff to get to and from work, especially those living at Kingswells and further afield.

NHS Grampian staff parking permit holders can show their permits to the bus driver allow them to travel free of charge on the X40 service during these works. However, this has been undermined by FirstAberdeen’s intention to withdraw the service from the end of this year. Local councillor Steve Delaney discussed matters with NHS Grampian earlier this week.

He said, “I was assured that NHS Grampian and FirstAberdeen are working together on this. They to meet on a weekly basis to review passenger numbers but First’s bottom line is that passenger numbers need to grow significantly. The position will be further reviewed in December as was previously advised to me by First’s Operations Manager. Needless to say, I will maintain regular contact with NHS Grampian as matters progress”.

“There is clearly a challenge for NHS Grampian to demonstrate an increase in passenger numbers, given the very tight timeline. We can all do our bit by using the bus more often and help boost the passenger numbers. Even if this only offers a reprieve until next summer, it would buy time to find a longer term solution for Kingswells. However, if increased passenger numbers were sustained, the threat may be lifted”.

“Personally I do not expect NHS staff on their own to be sufficient to give FirstAberdeen the passenger numbers they seek and I remain convinced of their determination to axe services to Kingswells. However, I would urge those of you who could use the X40 but don’t, to give it a try and help extend a lifeline to those in our community who would be hardest hit if it were withdrawn”.

Discussion with Transport Minister

IMG_0168.JPGKingswells councillor Steve Delaney was invited to join a teleconference on 17th October with Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and officials from Transport Scotland. The invitation came about as a result of the proposed withdrawal of bus services from Kingswells and Steve’s recent notice of motion to Aberdeen City Council.

Steve said, “This was a helpful conversation in which it soon became clear the Minister understood the social and economic need for a bus route serving Kingswells. We also spoke of the wider implications within Aberdeen as a result of other recent route withdrawals by First, something he has already come across elsewhere in Scotland”.

“Mr Yousaf also discussed the forthcoming Transport bill which will look at bus regulation as well other aspects of public transport in Scotland. No firm date has been set for its publication, but here will be an opportunity for the public to feed into the consultation process and I would strongly encourage this”.

“I appreciate the Minister giving up his time to discuss Kingswells and the wider public transport situation and I will continue to keep his office appraised of the Kingswells situation.”

Kingswells Bus Drop In Sessions

drop-in-sessionsTwo drop in sessions were held at Kingswells Community Centre on 12th and 15th October. Attendance was over 220 for the two days and would have probably been higher had it not been for the timing (school holidays) and the torrential rain. Nonetheless, this was a good turnout for events of this type. Both sessions had representatives from First and Aberdeen City Council listening to people’s concerns and advising on what comes next.

A number of the petition organisers were also on hand to offer their support and to invite attendees to leave comments with them. This was appreciated by those attending. These feedback forms will be passed to the council to assist them with their evidence gathering.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney, who attended both events said, “I was delighted to see so many people take the time to come along and make their views known. Everyone I spoke to was of the opinion that First have made up their minds and won’t be swayed, but all commented on the helpfulness of the council officials who attended”.

“Regardless of what comes next, all the feedback will help to inform the process going forward. I met lots of old friends and was able to put a lot of faces to names in respect of people I’ve previously had contact with but never met. I would like to thank everyone who took the trouble to discuss their concerns with me. It was good to see the community coming together to support each other at this worrying time”.

Confusion Over First’s Intentions

PARK_AND_RIDE_010Following on from my earlier announcement, First now appear to be in some confusion over their intentions regarding Kingswells bus services. Their latest statement insists that there has been no change in their position with regard to withdrawing services from Kingswells”.

I refer to the letter from the Traffic Commissioner which is pretty unequivocal in saying that “there will not be an application to withdraw this service meantime”.

Commenting on reports that FirstAberdeen are trying to back pedal on what First UK’s MD said to the Traffic Commissioner, Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland is an independent civil servant who has no axe to grind in this matter. I trust her honesty and her integrity”.

“On the basis that the change of heart came from the MD of First UK it’s beginning to look like the right hand doesn’t know what the left’s doing as far as First Group are concerned. Surely, when the UK MD makes such a commitment, it over-rules local decision making”.

“All this confusion causes is more uncertainty and more upset for the residents of Kingswells. First have behaved disgracefully towards the people of Kingswells”.

First Withdraws Threat To Kingswells Buses

busFollowing a strong community campaign, local councillor Steve Delaney can confirm that FirstAberdeen have decided NOT to withdraw bus services from Kingswells.

The news came in a letter from Joan Aitken, Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, following a meeting with First. In her letter Miss Aitken said, “there will not be an application to withdraw this service meantime”. First have indicated a willingness to consult on the future of this the service along with other wider issues. However, the Traffic Commissioner did say that passenger numbers will remain an issue for First in the consultations which will follow.

Steve said, “Clearly people power has won and I remain impressed with the grassroots movement which has arisen in Kingswells. However, we’ve won the battle, but not the war. The Traffic Commissioner was clear that the principle of use it or lose it remains”.

“I would like to thank the Traffic Commissioner for her assistance in this matter, but I must stress it’s only a reprieve. It’s up to local people to make more use of the bus service, but equally for FirstAberdeen to provide a quality service in order to maintain and grow passenger numbers”.

“Consultations are ongoing this week and it remains vital that people come along and have their say. The consultations will focus on what residents want from their bus service and how First can increase passenger numbers to ensure the longer term viability of the service”.

Council Backs Delaney On Kingswells Buses

ACCAberdeen City Council has agreed a motion from Lib Dem councillor Steve Delaney which seeks to ensure Kingswells residents are not left without a bus service and also looks at wider issue of public transport provision across the city.

Steve spoke of First’s total disregard for the residents of Kingswells and the difficulties they will experience if bus services are withdrawn and sought cross-Party support to find a way forward.

It all played out in a somewhat theatrical manner as Labour tried to block the motion twice. Steve then sought an adjournment from the Lord Provost in an attempt to find a way forward without division. What was agreed retained the focus and immediacy of the Kingswells situation.

Steve said, “It was somewhat bizarre how this all played out but I achieved what I had set out to do. This was to gain all Party support from the Council to do everything in it’s power to retain bus services in Kingswells and for politicians of all Parties to work together in order to achieve this. Anything less would have been a missed opportunity”.

“My thanks go to all councillors for their support. Also thanks to the Kingswells residents who sat through a very long meeting to hear this item”.

The full debate can be viewed online. Just select “7 a) Motion by Councillor Delaney” from the menu on the right of your screen. You will need to scroll down to find it.

What was finally agreed reads as follows:-

“That Council:-

1. Deplores FirstAberdeen’s intention to terminate the X40 service to Kingswells at the end of this year, effectively leaving an entire community without access to public transport.

2. Instructs the Director of Communities, Housing & Infrastructure to seek a meeting with FirstAberdeen to seek to reverse this decision and to further emphasise the need for services to be provided to all areas of Aberdeen.

3. Instructs the Chief Executive to meet with Group Leaders to consider how best to ensure that Kingswells residents are not left without a service and investigate how best to protect our communities across Aberdeen from further service withdrawals.

4. Reaffirms the decision of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee and asks the Chief Executive to arrange for public meetings in Kingswells and Bridge of Don to take place, which seek to feed back and discuss options which are identified by residents and from the drop in sessions.

Energy From Waste Plant Approved

incinerator-picAberdeen City Council yesterday approved the construction of an Energy From Waste plant to divert non-recyclable household waste from landfill.

The proposal was the subject of a six hour debate. The item before councillors was a Planning Application in which they were required to determine the suitability of the plant on purely planning ground as any health or environmental concerns fell outwith the discretion of the Council, falling instead to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

Following on from the decision, the operators will need to apply for a licence from SEPA, who will monitor the operation of the facility and have the power to intervene at any time, should the operators fail to comply with stringent environmental regulations in any way.

The plant will also generate electricity as a by-product of the incineration process, with the potential to alleviate fuel poverty in the Torry area.

The Energy from Waste plant will compliment a new recycling facility which will support mixed recyclate collections and allow many more items to be recycled than is the case at present. The mixed recyclate collections will begin early in 2017 and will be phased in over a few months.

Bus Petition Handover

busKingswells residents today travelled on the X40 to FirstGroup HQ to hand over petitions with well over 2000 signatures objecting to the planning withdrawal of the X40/11 services from Kingswells at the end of this year.

Steve Delaney said, “I’d like to pay tribute to Pam Hudson, Aleen Shinnie, Eric Clark, Joe & Isabell Ritchie, Jim Henderson, Jeanette Taylor and the many other local people who took the time and effort to gather these signatures. Also thanks to everyone who made the trip to First today to hand over the petition”.

The event was covered by the Evening Express, Press & Journal, Northsound, Original FM, BBC Radio and STV amongst others and was supported by Grampian Senior Citizens Forum and Unite the Union. Grateful thanks to all for helping raise awareness of the campaign.

A number of the organisers joined Steve in a meeting with FirstAberdeen’s Operations Director, David Adam. In the meeting, which lasted about half an hour, residents raised concerns about the accuracy and methodology used to gather passenger numbers. It was also conveyed to First that they had a moral obligation to provide services to all areas of Aberdeen.

Discussion centred around people’s inability to get to and from their workplace and the impact on elderly and disabled people who will be unable to attend medical appointments and may become socially isolated. A number of other concerns raised by local people were also aired.

Mr Adam confirmed that the service would be reviewed again in December with respect to NHS parking permit holders using the X40 during the closure of ARI’s car park. However, he did not commit to extending the service, even until July 2017, when the new car park at ARI is due to be completed.

Steve said, “I appreciate Mr Adam having taken the time to meet with us. He politely listened to our concerns and agreed to look further into passenger numbers and how these had been collated. He also asked us to encourage people to attend next week’s consultation events”.

“We left convinced that First’s decision to withdraw services from Kingswells was pretty much a done deal. However, it is vital that residents attend next week’s consultation events as the Council will be taking note of all concerns and will take cognisance of these in their response to First”.

“If indeed First do withdraw the service, your comments may well be used to inform the social need component of any new service, so please don’t walk away in disgust (as tempted as you may be) as we all need to work together on this”.

Confusion Over X40 Role During ARI Car Park Construction

_90484108_aricarparkA number of Kingswells residents have contacted Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Delaney over the posting of a news item on NHS Grampian’s intranet last week regarding the construction of their new multi-storey car park.

During the construction period, which commences on 10th October, the existing patient car park will be closed as will the adjacent staff car park, which is being taken over by the construction team. As a result, there will be very little car parking, not just for patients and visitors, but also for staff. This will create significant difficulties for staff who live outwith the city or in areas with less frequent bus services, along with challenges for NHS Grampian if staff can’t get to work.

The release from NHS Grampian says, “As a result staff car parking will be significantly reduced until the expected project end date of July 2017″……

“Foresterhill Health Campus permit holders will be able to park and travel free on the X40 from the Bridge of Don and Kingswells Park & Ride”.

This statement appears to cut across First’s decision to axe the service from the end of 2016. As a result, Steve contacted FirstAberdeen’s Commercial Manager, Daniel Laird for comment.

In his response of 28th September Mr Laird said, “This message has been communicated in error by NHS Grampian. We have been involved in discussions with their estates team regarding potential transport arrangements during the car park works, but as of today, we have not entered into any agreement with them. I have requested a meeting later this week with the estates team and if an agreement is reached, this will be communicated.”

Steve said, “This is particularly unsettling for ARI staff and indeed for patients if staff are unable to get to work. This debacle suggest to me that either First have failed to communicate their intention to cease operation of the X40 to NHS Grampian, either that or they may be willing to stave off the axing of the service until next July”.

“If indeed they do reach an agreement, a stay of execution for the X40 would of course be welcomed. I have no idea as to how this would be funded. However, I would have grave concerns if this was happening as a result of cash strapped NHS resources being used to top up First Aberdeen’s coffers for the next few months, only for First then to walk away”.

Bus Petitions – Next Steps

bus posterAs everyone will be aware, a number of petitions opposing the withdrawal of bus services from Kingswells have been doing the rounds. These have been organised by local people incensed at FirstAberdeen’s decision.

At their request local councillor Steve Delaney met earlier this week with a number of people who have been instrumental in gathering signatures to discuss next steps. As a result, it was agreed that the petitions will be handed to FirstAberdeen next week, with copies going to the Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Traffic Commissioner.

Residents are asked to make their way to First’s HQ in King Street for 10.45am on Wednesday 5th October. Please come along if you can, in order to demonstrate the level of concern in our community. A good turnout is absolutely essential. At 11.00am the petitions will be handed to a representative of First with covering letters requesting a formal response to the organisers. First have agreed to a short meeting with the petition organisers and Councillor Delaney thereafter.

Steve said, “I’ve been impressed with the way the community has united in opposition to First’s intention to withdraw our bus service and at the dedication and determination of local people to oppose this”.

“The petitions have arisen as a result of a grassroots movement, they have been community led and they clearly demonstrate that these genuine concerns need to be listened to and this decision reversed”.

“The handing over of these petitions demonstrates the community’s determination to ensure we retain a bus service which covers the whole of Kingswells. Please do come along if you can”.

Kingswells Bus Service – Drop In Sessions

drop-in-sessionsAberdeen City Council are to hold two drop-in sessions at Kingswells Community Centre on Wednesday 12th October from 16.00 – 19.30 and on Saturday 15th October from 11.00 – 14.30. FirstAberdeen have confirmed their attendance.

Residents can come along at any time and discuss matters with representatives from First Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Council, there will be two tables for First Aberdeen and two for Aberdeen City Council to allow face to face discussions and a waiting area will also be provided until a table is clear.

Steve Delaney said, “I’m disappointed it has not been possible to hold a public meeting. Drop in sessions are fine for gathering information, but can work less well in respect of everyone getting all their points across”.

“Regardless of whether or not you feel these sessions will be of value, I would urge you to attend one or other of them. It is vital that all your concerns are fed into the process. There’s also an issue of credibility if sessions are organised and few people turn up”.

“The fact that some people may consider the process to be pointless, given that First have already taken the decision, is irrelevant. Looking at the bigger picture, if you want to continue to have a bus service in Kingswells, you need to be there and you need to have your say”.

Some concerns have been expressed about holding these sessions during the school holidays, with some families away. Anyone unable to attend can provide feedback regarding to their use of the bus services, what bus services they would like in the area/minimum service level required or to enquire about the reasoning behind the proposed withdrawal of bus services and the process which is being undertaken by emailing Aberdeen City Council at mayule@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Meeting with Public Transport Unit

PARK_AND_RIDE_010Steve Delaney, Liberal Democrat councillor for Kingswells, today met with the Public Transport Unit at Aberdeen City Council. The purpose of the meeting was two-fold, to discuss process and timelines but also for a briefing on what the Council is doing to try to ensure that Kingswells is not left without a bus service. The main points coming out of the meeting were as follows.

Private bus companies such as First can choose to axe routes at their absolute discretion and the only legislative requirement is that they give notice to the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland. The required notice period is 70 days, suggesting they will start the process between 17th and 30th October to meet their stated intention that “we will withdraw all services from Kingswells Village and Park & Ride by the end of the calendar year”. This statement by First represents their intention to trigger this process, but the process has not yet started. First has confirmed this to be the case earlier today.

During the first 28 days of the formal process, the Council must analyse the impact of the proposals and submit their findings to the bus operator. Where a significant change such as this is proposed, Aberdeen City Council would normally consult with stakeholders such as councillors, MPs, MSPs, community councils, NESTRANS, major employers likely to be affected, and others. This would be done to compliment the Council’s response.

Following on from this, First Group, assuming they have not been persuaded to reverse their decision, will lodge notice with the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland. Provided the de-registration is accepted, the service will cease 42 days after that date.

Council officials are currently analysing passenger numbers and will be holding further talks with First Group and other operators over the next week or so. All potential solutions will be explored. One or more public engagement events will be run in Kingswells, led by the Council, with First Group in attendance. Details of how and when this will take place have yet to be finalised, but an announcement is expected over the course of the next week.

Steve said, “Much of the above is process driven, but there’s much going on by way of preparatory work in advance of formal notice being served. Officials are weighing up a number of possible solutions with a view to retaining a service in Kingswells”.

“This is the start of the process, not the end. Make your views known to the Council, First Group and the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland. They need to fully understand the human cost of withdrawing services from Kingswells”

“Should it not be possible to maintain a commercial service, the Council has a duty under the Act to consider the impact such a withdrawal of service would cause. However, there is no statutory duty on the Council to provide a service and any such decision would need to be taken by councillors”.

“Please rest assured that I will continue to explore all options to retain a bus which services the whole of Kingswells, not just the Park & Ride”.

Rumbles urges First to retain X40 & 11 service to Kingswells

Mike RumblesAberdeen MSP Mike Rumbles is calling on local bus operators First Aberdeen Limited to think innovatively and expand the service to encourage more patrons to use the route.

This week First announced to the dismayed community, that both daytime and evening services X40 and 11 to Kingswells were to be cancelled due to a lack of custom. But residents have told Mr Rumbles that the route would be used if the service was more reliable.

Mike Rumbles said: “Improving public transport to and from the town centre is vital for the future of our city and local economy. It’s not just about making a profit for bus companies, they have a responsibility to provide a service for our communities.

“Providers should be thinking outside the box to improve the reliability of the service and encourage people to use public transport. Roads in Aberdeen and the Shire have become more and more congested in recent years. People are crying out for good and reliable bus services, but they won’t switch if the service is infrequent, slow and undependable.”

“You may be interested to know that I have written to First today stressing this fact and highlighting the short sightedness of their decision. I have also issues a statement to the local press and will be speaking on Radio Northsound today.”

“Over the coming weeks will be working with your local councillor Steve Delaney on this issue. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding this matter or any other.”

Kingswells Bus Services 24 Hour Update

IMG_0168.JPGThank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact me with concerns over First’s proposal to withdraw the X40 service. It’s been quite a day and I’m only beginning to draw breath now and it’s almost 10pm!

Needless to say I’ve not been able to get back to everyone but I will do so over the next few days. The level of concern has been overwhelming, and rightly so.

Since my last update a few more things have moved forward.

I have arranged to meet with the Council’s Public Transport Unit next week to discuss options open to the Council moving forward. I will of course post an update following on from that.

I have prepared a mailing to every Kingswells resident I have an email address for and that will be going out imminently

I have lodged a Notice of Motion to the Council meeting on 6th October 2016 which, subject to agreement of the Leader of the Council, will be debated that day.

It proposes as follows:-

That Council:-

1. Deplores FirstAberdeen’s intention to terminate the X40 service to Kingswells at the end of this year, effectively leaving an entire community without access to public transport.

2. Instructs the Director of Communities, Housing & Infrastructure to seek a meeting with FirstAberdeen to seek to reverse this decision and to further emphasise the need for services to be provided to all areas of Aberdeen.

3. Instructs the Director of Communities, Housing & Infrastructure to look at all available options including meeting with alternative public transport operators to explore the possibility of them providing a service to Kingswells.

4. Instructs the Chief Executive to seek a meeting with the Transport Minister and to meet with Group Leaders to consider how best to ensure that Kingswells residents are not left without a service and investigate how best to protect our communities across Aberdeen from further service withdrawals.

I would hope that all Party support will be forthcoming in this respect.

Please rest assured that I will leave no stone unturned to retain a bus service operating within the village. Updates will be posted as and when appropriate.

Best Regards
Steve Signature

X40 Bus Service To Be Withdrawn From Kingswells

P&RFirstAberdeen has today announced its intention to withdraw the X40 service from Kingswells with effect from the end of this year. This will result in Kingswells Village being the only part of Aberdeen which is not served by public transport.

Kingswells councillor Steve Delaney said, “This decision leaves elderly and disabled people who do not drive, effectively stranded. It also leaves Kingswells residents with no access to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Stagecoach services are available from Kingswells Park & Ride, but that’s of no use unless you own a car, which sort of defeats the purpose”.

“Local residents have for some time believed that FirstAberdeen was trying to kill off this service. In recent years the X40 has seen a number of reductions to its frequency. As a result, those who have the option of driving to work are doing so as result of the poor frequency. This has been further compounded by poor timekeeping. It’s hardly surprising to see passenger numbers down on what is effectively a third rate service”.

“I have already been in touch with the Council asking them to raise this matter with the Scottish Traffic Commissioner in the strongest of terms. I have also asked that they look at all other options open to the Council in order to try to reverse this decision. In addition, I have contacted Stagecoach asking them to look into the possibility of covering Kingswells Village with one of their services”.

“Earlier this year the Liberal Democrat Group proposed £200,000 for supported bus services in their Budget, which would have immediately helped in situations such as this. The Council’s Labour led administration only subsidise Culter/ Cults and Craigiebuckler with approximately £80,000 of subsidy. We would have gone much further with a costed proposal which had citywide relevance”.

“Although I’ve tried to work with FirstAberdeen constructively over the past eight years, it has always been clear that they are profit driven rather than people driven. They have absolutely no regard for maintaining a public service, merely private profit at the expense of the public they aspire to serve”.

“In 2013 the Liberal Democrat Group on Aberdeen City Council sought to ask the Scottish Parliament to strengthen bus regulation legislation by introducing a public service obligation to ensure services were provided to all areas and a minimum frequency of service stipulated. This motion was put forward to prevent such occurrences as we see today, but it failed to attract support from any other political group. Today those councillors should hang their heads in shame”

Pre-Application Consultation – Proposed Stadium At West Kingsford

StadiumAberdeen Football Club have recently announced their intention to hold a number of pre-application consultation events in advance of lodging a formal application in respect of their proposals for a stadium at West Kingsford.

Details are as follows:-
– FourMile House, Kingswells, Tuesday 26th July, 1pm-8pm;
– Holiday Inn hotel, Westhill, Friday 29th July, 1pm-8pm;
– Aberdeen Asset Management Suite, Pittodrie, Tuesday 2nd August, 1pm-8pm.

In addition, ‘pop-up’ exhibitions are also arranged to be displayed at the Trinity Shopping Centre (Wednesday 3rd August 12pm-6pm), Central Library (Friday 5th August, 12pm-5pm) and at Pittodrie Stadium (Monday 8th August, 1pm-7pm).

Local councillor Steve Delaney said, “I would encourage everyone who has an interest in this proposal, whether for, against, or just looking for more information, to attend one of these events. It’s important that everyone’s views are heard”.

Feedback from these events will help inform a finalised planning application later in the year. At that stage you will have 21 days to make any representations, should you wish to do so.

Steve added, “I’ve had a number of representations from constituents, both for and against this application, seeking my support. I would like to make it clear that councillors are not permitted to express a view on planning applications prior to them coming before the Council or the Planning Committee, otherwise they are debarred from voting on the application. However, all representations are of course given due consideration”.

Bus Route Diversion in Sheddocksley

As a result of resurfacing works in Arran Avenue between Benbecula Road and Skye Road, the No 23 bus will be diverted. The roadworks are due to run from 16th – 20th May inclusive.

Access to homes in Benbecula Road, Uist Road, Taransay Road, Lismore Gardens and Berneray Place will be maintained from 16th – 18th May, but there could be delays between 8am and 5pm.

On 19th and 20th May access will not be possible between 8am and 5pm when the road is being laid, until the surface has set. There will be no bus service on Lewis Road from Stornaway Crescent to Skye Road.

Additional bus stop will be in place on Lewis Road along the diverted route. Details as follows:-

Start date and time 16 May 06:00
End date and time 24 May 24:00

Service 23 when heading to Sheddocksley terminus
Normal service round Lewis Road to Sumburgh Crescent then:
• left into Sumburgh Crescent
• continue along Sumburgh Crescent
• right into Lewis Road
• continue along Lewis Road (using all temp stops)
• left onto the Lang Stracht (spend any layover time at the last temp stop on Lewis Road)