A new bus is being trialled in Muchalls.
Some residents of the village had felt isolated as they had to walk to Newtonhill, or cross the busy A90 dual carriageway to access public transport.
North Kincardine Councillor Alison Evison has campaigned for a bus service to and from the village and, beginning this week, a trial of a bus service twice a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays will begin, and will run for a trial period until April 2017.
Resident Jim Dunbar explained to the Leader: “Only recently, one of our residents, Hugh Roche enlisted the help of Councillor Alison Evison and she has taken a different approach. She has secured an Aberdeenshire Council minibus to provide a service from Muchalls to Newtonhill Park and Choose, twice a day, three days a week. This service is on a six month trial basis and will be reviewed at the end of this trial period.”
Councillor Evison commented: “The residents of Muchalls have been asking for a bus service from within the village for a long time. For some, the walk to Newtonhill to get the bus to Aberdeen safely is just too far, and the alternative of crossing the A90 to get the bus to Aberdeen is just too dangerous.
‘‘There is no shop within Muchalls, and so some people without alternative transport have been feeling isolated.
“I am pleased that Aberdeenshire Council has been able to respond to this issue by making effective use of one of its own vehicles to provide a service to the Newtonhill Park and Choose on three days a week on a trial basis – this is a good use of council resources. “
The service started on Tuesday (October 25) and was met with enthusiasm from those who used the service. It is hoped that there will be a greater uptake for this service as time goes on and it can be retained on a permanent basis.
Mr Dunbar added: “A lot of work has been put into securing this service and we all want it to stay. So the message to the villagers is to use it or lose it permanently.”
North East MSP Mike Rumbles has welcomed news. He said: “I’m delighted that the community of Muchalls will now have access to this much needed service. This is a great result for the residents who have been campaigning for improved safety for decades - frankly it is a disgrace that they have had to wait this long.
“The village will now have better access to other bus services, while making travel much safer for local commuters.
“Too often rural communities are at the back of the queue for investment in public transport. We need more services like this to improve accessibility and safety for people across Aberdeenshire and the North East.”