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Aberdeenshire free transport service expands with new vehicle

Pictured are councillor Norman Smith, Fay Clayton, Jackie Grey, Julie-Ann White and Andrew Lamb.
Pictured are councillor Norman Smith, Fay Clayton, Jackie Grey, Julie-Ann White and Andrew Lamb.

A pilot project offering free community transport in Buchan has acquired a new electric vehicle to join its fleet of accessible vehicles.

The Be-Link’D initiative was launched in October last year to help meet the needs of people in rural areas who cannot access suitable transport because of existing bus times, accessibility or cost.

Operated by Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, it aims to offer an alternative for residents, following a review of the council-run A2B service, which ran around a dozen routes across the region until the start of lockdown.

Now, the transport service is set to further expand its reach with a brand new 7-seat electric vehicle for collections and drop-offs within the Central Buchan area.

The bus will offer free transport to locals from Monday to Friday with pick-ups from 9am and a last drop-off at 3.30pm.

Central Buchan councillor Norman Smith said: “I would like to congratulate Dial-a-Bus for this addition to their fleet.

“This is a pilot project and needs to be used or it may be lost. Hopefully, it will go from strength to strength for foreseeable future.”

The project has been led and developed by community planning partners including Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Buchan Development Partnership, Foyer and the Department of Work and Pensions.

To mark the unveiling of the Be-Link’D vehicle, people who use the vehicle will be entered into a monthly draw to win £30 worth of gift vouchers during the next three months.

Steven Wares, operations and maintenance manager at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm added: “This project could be a model for other communities to follow in finding ways to making low carbon community travel possible.

“We congratulate everyone involved in bringing this scheme to life.”

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