A number of supported bus services in Aberdeenshire will be withdrawn or reduced. Some of the services that will be affected have been suspended since the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed in January 2021 and these will not be reinstated. The remainder will be withdrawn with effect from week commencing Monday 31st May 2021.
The money available for supported services was reduced by around £250,000 when the council set its budget in mid March 2021.
To stay within budget for 2021/22, the council's Transportation service is reducing those supported bus routes and services which provide least value for money.
In view of the overall reduction in usage of bus services in 2020, due to government guidance to only use public transport for essential travel, it was considered that the 12 month period to November 2019 would allow a fairer assessment, this including the usage of each service, primary trip purpose and average subsidy per passenger, which in some cases amounts to over £20 per passenger journey.
However, factors within the catchment area of each service were also taken into account, such as the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) ranking, car ownership levels, and the percentage of population with restricted mobility.