Moray Council to replace vital Stagecoach bus link

Douglas Ross argued the case for the Council to step in after Stagecoach service is withdrawn

MORAY COUNCIL WILL ensure that a regular bus service is provided to replace a key bus link to Elgin that is being withdrawn by Stagecoach in April.

Concerned residents of Kingston, Garmouth, Urquhart and Lhanbyrde had called a public meeting to discuss the withdrawal of service 34 from April.

However, that may not now be required as local councillor Douglas Ross sought an assurance from Moray Council that they would step in to ensure the continuation of a service linking the outlying villages with Elgin.

Following a report on insideMoray at the weekend, the chairman of the economic development and infrastructure committee, John Cowe, said that he had allowed an emergency motion on the issue from Councillor Ross.

That resulted in agreement from the council to operate a ‘modified’ registered bus timetable between the villages and Elgin.

Following the decision Councillor Ross said: “The announcement that the service was being withdrawn came just after the shop in Garmouth closed and there was a real feeling of loss from many people in the community.

“The bus service was popular with people of all ages and I have received many emails and letters from concerned constituents about the loss of service.

“I immediately spoke with officers who were very open to the possibility of continuing some kind of service and while the proposal at committee does not replicate exactly what was provided by the service 34 route – but it does provide vital links between the communities and Elgin five times a day and I think this will be very welcome.

“I am sure this service will be supported by local people and hopefully they can see that the council has listened to their concerns and provided an alternative service when many feared that with the Stagecoach route removed, nothing would be put in its place.

“It’s very important that people in the communities served by this route feel they are connected to other parts of Moray and it has been evident how important this service is to so many people.

“I’m delighted that we will have a council run service starting immediately after the Stagecoach one is removed, so local people will see a continuity of service.”

The Stagecoach service will be withdrawn on Saturday, April 16 and the new council-operated service will take over the route on Monday, April 18.