- Local bus links to increase across Scotland from 29 June
- Step up follows easing of lockdown restrictions and government restart funding for buses
- Extra measures to help customers plan journeys include new smartphone “busy bus” tool
- Customers urged to follow mandatory face coverings rule on all public transport
- Updated timetables and key information available online
Stagecoach has today confirmed it will start to gradually increase bus service levels in Scotland from next week in line with the Scottish Government’s plans to re-open more parts of daily life.
From Monday, 29 June, the company will be providing around double the number of services that have been running as part of the emergency timetables in place since March. Bus services will then be gradually increased, with plans to resume full timetables later in the summer. As well as local bus links, it includes Citylink and megabus coach services within Scotland.
The step up plans follow the announcement by the Scottish Government of new restart funding for the country's bus network. It will help buses play a full part in connecting people with workplaces, the high street and other key services as they start to gradually re-open.
Stagecoach has a range of measures in place to help customers travel safely and easily. It includes the launch of a new smartphone “busy bus” indicator, which uses extensive data and artificial intelligence to provide a traffic light indicator to help customers choose quieter services and maintain physical distancing.
Face coverings are mandatory on all public transport across Scotland Stagecoach is using social media and information on its buses to remind people of the importance of following the new rules to help themselves and their fellow passengers.
Sam Greer, regional director Scotland for Stagecoach, said: “We remain extremely proud of the fantastic efforts of all of our employees across the country in recent months. Our people have made a huge contribution to the national effort and we’d like to thank every one of them and our customers for their support.
"Buses will continue to play a crucial role in the country’s recovery ahead. As well as helping to restart our economy, they are vital in bringing normality back to many areas of our daily lives. They keep people connected and have a major role in delivering safer, cleaner and healthier communities.
“We are pleased to be starting to step up our services to support the gradual re-opening of aspects of daily life across Scotland. We have a number of extra measures in place to make sure that our services are Covid-19 secure and to help people plan their journeys and use our services safely.
“In line with government regulations, face coverings are now mandatory on all bus services, and this will be enforced by Police Scotland. We are reminding people that they need to wear a face covering when travelling on our services, and we are confident the vast majority of people will do the right thing to ensure the safety of themselves, our employees and other customers.”
A number of additional safety steps have also been taken by Stagecoach to make bus services Covid-19 secure including:
- Vital preparations carried out by a team of engineers to ensure the bus fleet is ready for the ramp up in services. Buses which have been parked up during recent weeks will all be deep-cleaned and will undergo stringent checks in advance of going into service.
- Continued enhanced cleaning regime which includes at least daily cleaning of all buses with a government-recommended sanitiser, with a particular focus on key touch points, and additional in service cleaning where possible.
- All buses will continue to have a protective screen to provide a physical barrier between the driver and passenger. In line with government advice, as drivers are behind a protective screen, they do not need to wear a face covering. However, should the driver need to leave their cab to assist a customer, they will wear a face covering.
- Physical distancing measures will be in place on all bus services, which means that each individual bus has around 20% of normal passenger capacity.
Bus planners have worked hard to ensure that the new timetables meet the needs of local communities and Stagecoach is continuing to work with local authorities to ensure the bus fleet is deployed where it is needed most.
Frequency increases across key services connecting Kingswells, Torry, Northfield, Bucksburn and Westhill with facilities in the city centre. Improved service to Aberdeen Airport with the JET727 service, which will operate up to every 10 minutes Monday-Friday and every 30 minutes on weekends.
Increased frequency between Aberdeen and Braemar with buses Aberdeen – Banchory every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday.
A new Banchory town service 205 will operate every hour during the daytime Monday-Saturday. This service will offer local connections from Banchory High Street, Hill of Banchory and Tesco.
Increased frequency with more X7 journeys added reducing journey times for trips between Aberdeen and Stonehaven.
Service 7/7A/7B will operate every hour between Aberdeen, Portlethen, Newtonhill and Chapelton. Chapelton village will be connected directly to Aberdeen for the first time.
Service 4A/C in Stonehaven will be renumbered service 8A/C but there is no change to service frequency.
Increase in frequency for services connecting to Aberdeen as well as Kemnay – Alford connections.
Service 22 (Inverurie town service) will be reintroduced to operate hourly Monday-Friday.
Increase in frequency connecting to Aberdeen as well as on the local town services. Reintroduction of early morning journeys for shift workers.
Buses from Ellon Park & Ride will increase, with 2 departures towards Aberdeen every hour through the day, with additional journeys at peak times.
Services within Ellon, Foveran, Newburgh and Balmedie will be increased to provide more regular links on services 50, 52, 53 and 54.
Increase in frequency for connections to Elgin, Inverness and Aberdeen. Services 35 and 10 will run hourly for the majority of the day with additional journeys in the morning and afternoon peaks.
Buses to Lossiemouth will operate up to every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday on service 33A/C, with hourly connections to Maintoba and Pinefield. An hourly service will operate on Sundays.
Services that will remain suspended from Monday, June 29 –
– 119, 219, 221, 230, 231, 240, 292, 416, 422, 452, 41A, 70A/B/C, 44 and nightbird services.
Moray – 110, 133, 253, 258, 271, 248 and 405