Mr Stewart MSP (pictured) has written to Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to press his government for urgent support for the 28-seat Deveron Coaches 340 service in Elgin.
Mr Stewart, who last week joined passengers on the 340 route to listen to their views, has written to Michael Matheson, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, asking for urgent funding support. Mr Stewart has also passed on a 426-named petition to the Cabinet Secretary on behalf of the campaigner and has met with HITRANS officials earlier this week. Meetings are scheduled with Stagecoach bosses and a meeting request has been sent to Moray Council’s chief executive Roddy Burns.
Mr Stewart said he is committed to help lead the fight for better bus services.
He added: “Bus services have really taken a hit in recent times and it’s high time we saw some government investment coming down the line to protect these vital services. It’s time to be asking some tough questions of the government on improving public transport which vitally, in turn, will help to improve air quality. The government must look at ring-fencing some support for buses.”
Retired Buckie High School librarian Sara Marsh from Bishopmill, who has been using the bus for the last four years since it won the tender to operate on the route, has sent copies of her petition to Moray Council’s Chief Executive, and local councillors arguing that it is “worthy of cross-party support”.
Mrs Marsh said: “I thank David Stewart MSP for supporting the 340/341 bus service. I am sure he saw for himself that this is not just any old bus service, this is a community service and a very important one for the health and well-being of many people who use it. A 94-year-old passenger told me if it wasn’t for the bus he would not be able to go out every day. It takes him an hour just to walk to the nearest shop for his paper. As a society we are supposed to be tackling issues of isolation and social exclusion and this bus service does both. It should be supported on environmental grounds too. Fewer cars on Elgin’s roads is surely a good thing. I would hope that all the elected representatives of Moray would be getting behind David Stewart by helping to save the service.”
The bus route is due to be axed next month when a funding pot managed by Moray Council – which has been supplied by a housing developer – is due to run dry.