Bus service changes for Lochside Academy

Two changes have been agreed at Aberdeen City Council’s operational delivery committee for bus services running to Lochside Academy.

Members of the committee agreed that service 21B is to be removed and service 21A is to be re-routed, operating as service 21 around Cove and Charleston to the school.

Service 22A is to be removed from Leggart and service 22A is to start and end at Balnagask. Pupils in the Leggart Terrace area can utilise the service 181.

The report to committee said the City Council currently subsidises six buses operated by First Aberdeen, and First Aberdeen commercially provides five bus services. These services are 21A/21B from Cove/Charleston to Lochside Academy (Aberdeen City Council), service 22A/22B/22C from Leggart/Balnagask/Torry to Lochside Academy (Aberdeen City Council), service 31 from Torry to Lochside Academy (First Aberdeen), service 181/182/183 from Kincorth to Lochside Academy (First Aberdeen).

Pupils in Kincorth, Leggart and Torry receive free transport from 7am to 6pm and this is provided as an annual bus pass loaded onto the pupils’ Accord Card. Pupils in Cove pay to use bus services.

The report to committee explained bus use has been monitored via passenger reports from the ticket machines and by on-site observations. While buses can on occasion run quite full and require pupils to stand, it is considered that there is enough capacity to accommodate all the passengers.

The services 22A, 22B, 22C and 31 from Leggart, Torry and Balnagask, average around 250–300 passengers in the morning and afternoon. There is always a minimum capacity for 400 passengers on the buses operating in these areas, so it is considered there is sufficient capacity for the demand.

It said the services 21A and 21B from Cove average about 50 to 60 passengers in the morning and 30 to 40 passengers in the afternoon. There is always a minimum capacity for 140 passengers on the buses operating in Cove, and is therefore considered that one high-capacity vehicle operating around Cove and Charleston would be sufficient to meet the current demand.

The supported service 22 is the busiest, with very little capacity, and therefore no reduction was recommended, which was agreed by members of the committee.

There have been no passengers recorded boarding in Leggart as pupils are instead boarding the Kincorth services. For bus services to operate to/from Leggart, as there is no turning point, they must travel to Milltimber to cross the River Dee and use this to turn, which adds considerable mileage onto the bus contracts and therefore cost. It was therefore recommended – and agreed by the committee - to remove the service 22A from Leggart. Pupils will be able to use the Kincorth service 181 which can be boarded/alighted on Stonehaven Road

Since opening, there have been no recorded road traffic collisions regarding a school pupil. The road safety measures that have been installed and the success of these measures were reported to Education Operational Delivery Committee (EODC) in January 2019.

The report explained surveys were carried out at different times of the day to find out how the pedestrian and toucan crossings were being used.

The majority of pupils used the formal crossings in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon however the percentage of uncontrolled crossing actions was higher at lunchtime.

The report said the school has worked with pupils throughout the year to remind them of the dangers of crossing Wellington Road at uncontrolled crossing points, particularly at lunchtimes when this has been more predominant. In September 2018, a theatre company presented road safety performances to all S1 and S5/6 pupils, which was well received by pupils. A safe travel event for pupils was also held at Lochside Academy in March 2019, with Police Scotland in attendance.