The first cuts in Moray bus services as a result of Moray Council withdrawing £300,000 in subsidies to operator Stagecoach Bluebird has been announced.
Services that were previously supported by the local authority have either been withdrawn or will see changes to their routes with effect from October 14.
Services affected will be the 31, 31A and 31B from Springfield Retail Park in Elgin to Forres – these will be replaced with service 34 from Kingston to Forres. Services 32, 33A and 33C, 35B and 36, are to face timetable changes.
Managing director of Stagecoach in the North of Scotland is Steve Walker. He said: “Following Moray Council’s decision to axe public transport investment to zero from £300,000 as part of their wider programme of cuts, Stagecoach had to revisit the viability of some of their services.
“Like our passengers we are disappointed that certain services will be withdrawn or have their frequency reduced.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 the budget cuts have limited what we are able to offer.”
The leader of Moray Council, Councillor Allan Wright, insisted that the decision on what to do with their services was a matter for Stagecoach. He added: “The services were lightly used and Stagecoach clearly felt they were not commercially viable.”
Councillor Wright added his belief that the increase of £70,000 allocated to the region’s ‘Dial a Bus’ service would mitigate the issue “to some extent but not eliminate it”.