David wants to sit down with the older, retired people who use this bus service to get to the town centre, Dr Grays Hospital and GP surgeries at Maryhill and Glassgreen, to hear how they feel they will manage if it disappears off the route next month, as planned.
The subsidy it was getting though developer contributions from two house building companies has reached the end of its lifespan. Deveron Coaches’ owner Albert Milne said the cost of keeping the bus on the route was just short of £115,000 per annum – a sum he sadly cannot afford. Cash-strapped Moray Council said it no longer financially supports bus services due to major budget pressures.
David really thinks this is an issue that needs to be looked into. “We need to look after our old, frail and elderly” and bus services are immensely important.
David said: “I have been in contact with Highland Council’s chief executive Roddy Burns and also with Deveron Coaches’ owner Albert Milne.
“Mr Burns said his council cannot feasibly support bus services and a decision was taken in 2013 to that effect. Mr Milne has told me how much he regrets having to stop running the bus on September 7 when funding from the developers contributions runs out.”
He went on: “Campaigners fearful of losing this bus service will remember handing a petition to Moray’s SNP MSP Richard Lochhead in 2016 and telling him it was a vital link for older people to get their medical appointments. I would be happy to work with Moray Council and MSP Richard Lochhead to try to push his government for some support to keep this lifeline bus service going.”
Mr Milne from the family-run MacDuff-based Deveron Coaches said: “If there was funding available I would be delighted to keep it running. There’s a lot of old folk on that bus, in fact it’s all mostly old folk. They get on the bus to meet their friends and have a blether. I think the bus is a home from home for some of them. It’s a social thing for them to be getting on the bus to meet their friends. Obviously everyone’s keen to keep it going. I heard from the driver that one of the little old ladies was in tears when she was told it was stopping.”