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Bus and rail patronage down in NE Scotland


06 July 2018

Bus and rail patronage in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has fallen sharply over the last two years, according to data published by Nestrans, the North East Scotland transport partnership.

Rail patronage through the area’s eight stations is down 18 per cent in just two years: from 6,032,870 in 2014/15 to 5,579,046 in 2015/16, to 4,927,294 in 2016/17. Passenger numbers through all Scottish stations rose 2.7 per cent between 2014/15 and 2016/17, from 183.5 million to 188.5 million. 

Bus passenger numbers in the area dropped more than 7 per cent last year from 28.6 million (2016/17) to 26.5 million (2017/18), with fare-paying passenger numbers falling ten per cent from 18.1 million to 16.3 million, and concessionary passengers falling about 3 per cent, from 10.5 million to 10.2 million. 

Bus patronage fell 11.2 per cent between 2015/16 and 2017/18, with fare-paying passengers down 15.9 per cent, and concessions 2.4 per cent. 

Data shows a decline in the use of the three long-standing bus-based park-and-ride sites serving Aberdeen. The city is now served by four sites, three in Aberdeen (Bridge of Don, Kingswells, and Craibstone) and one in Aberdeenshire (Ellon). The 1,000-space Craibstone facility on the A96 north-west of Aberdeen opened in June last year. Data for the other three sites shows:

• Bridge of Don: this facility, north of Aberdeen, has space for 532 cars but only 146 were utilised on a typical day in 2017, down from 182 in 2015.

• the Kingswells site, beside the A944 west of Aberdeen, has 915 spaces, of which 213 were in use on a typical day in 2017, up from 118 in 2015.

• the Ellon facility, beside the A90 north of Aberdeen, has 300 parking spaces, of which 182 were in use in a typical day in 2017, up from 169 in 2015.

A new voluntary quality partnership is being formed to try and arrest the decline in bus ridership (LTT 22 Jun).

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