Local residents have joined forces with Scottish Labour’s prospective candidate for North Kincardine, Greg Williams, to launch a petition for better transport services in Portlethen and Newtonhill.
Mr Williams was spurred into action by a dismissive response he received from Scotrail. “I asked them whether we could have a ticket machine at the station. But Scotrail refused, saying only a few services stop at Portlethen.
“We’re going round in circles here. Demand for trains is lower than it could be because the facilities are not good enough. But Scotrail won’t improve the facilities until there are more trains stopping. It’s a self defeating argument and no one is taking responsibility for the overall picture.”
Neil Ritchie is supporting the Labour candidate’s petition. “If we get together and show Scotrail the strength of feeling in the local community on transport issues, they will have to take notice.
“I commute to Aberdeen every day and would consider using the train more if I didn’t have to queue to buy a ticket on arrival at Aberdeen. More frequent trains would also help increase rail use.”
The need for more rail services has been heightened by increasing overcrowding on local bus routes. John Smith, who uses the bus to visit his parents in Portlethen, said, “If you get a bus from Aberdeen after work, it’s frequently standing room only. This situation is only going to get worse with the confirmation of new houses at Marywell.”
Mr Williams is concerned that development pressure will also hit Newtonhill, which is completely reliant on bus services for public transport. “With the amount of new houses planned to go into North Kincardine, we need more buses to make sure people from Newtonhill do not have to stand all the way home.”
The petition is available to sign online - see external links.