ONE of the North east of Scotland’s major bus companies today blamed budget cuts by Moray Council for its decision to axe a number of services in the area.
Stagecoach Bluebird said the company had been forced to make service revisions to its network following the budget cuts announced by Moray Council in February.
A spokeswoman for the bus company said: “Stagecoach Bluebird have been required to make service revisions to their network which will take effect on Monday 14 October. The journeys that were supported by Moray Council have been withdrawn and the commercial journeys have been retained.
“Moray Council did contract bus operators, including Stagecoach, to operate a large number of services and individual journeys in the area, including in the evenings and at weekends. Stagecoach operated around 70 per cent of these tendered services on behalf of the council.”
Steve Walker, managing director of Stagecoach North Scotland, said: “Following Moray Council’s decision to axe public transport investment to zero, from the £300,000 it spends on bus services in the area as part of a wider programme of council service cuts, Stagecoach had to revisit the viability of some of the bus services provided in the Moray area.”
Impact on potential expansion
Mr Walker also warned that the council cuts could have a negative impact on any potential expansion of local bus services in the future. He said: “Like our passengers we are disappointed that certain services will be withdrawn or have their frequency reduced. Our aim is to provide efficient and reliable bus services that better meets our customer needs, but these budget cuts have limited what we can offer our passengers in the Moray area.”
Under the changes the 31, 31A and 31B bus services from the Springfield Retail Park in Elgin to Forres will be withdrawn and replaced with the 34 service from Lhanbryde to Forres. There will also be restrictions on the times of the Bishopsmill to Burghead, Pinefield to Lossiemouth, Elgin to Buckie, and Dufftown to Elgin services.
A spokesman for Moray Council said: “Any changes to the services they provide are a matter for Stagecoach.”