Work to improve a north-east park and ride is finally expected to be completed by the end of the month – nearly a decade after it was approved.
Aberdeenshire Council launched a £1million project to expand Ellon Park and Ride in 2012 to encourage the use of public transport and offer a better service.
The facility opened in 2000 and has since become the “most popular” one in the region, with a “year-on-year” increase in passenger numbers.
A range of upgrades – including additional bus stops, a new turning circle and more parking spaces – were agreed to be created to meet the needs of residents.
After the first stage was completed in 2014 however, the project has been repeatedly delayed due to issues with land ownership, the existing water mains and recently, the Covid pandemic.
Ellon Park and Ride improvements ‘well worth the wait’
Work on the improvements was re-launched in June – with the station initially expected to open to the public in February next year.
But Aberdeenshire Council has now confirmed the team is due to finish the project by the end of December – two months ahead of schedule.
Local councillor Gillian Owen, who has been advocating for the project since the start, recently visited the site and praised the progress that has been done.
She said: “I have watched this project for many years – from the planning application in 2012 to when I visited the park and ride to see the improvements first-hand. They really are brilliant and well worth the wait and the pain and anguish of issues.
“It is such an important addition to Ellon, and actually crucial, as we continue to try to encourage more people to drop their car and use public transport.
“And what better way to do that, than to provide this excellent facility, which is safe, comfortable and reliable.
“Residents have been waiting for it to come to fruition with a bated breath and I’m over the moon that soon I’ll be able to tell them it is finally open and ready for business.”
What are the upgrades?
As part of the upgrades, three new bus shelters with digital timetables have been built at the station, which provides a transport link for thousands of people into Aberdeen.
A further 91 parking spaces, as well as nine disabled parking bays, have also been created in addition to the 290 previously available.
A previously-unused 500ft stretch of road which backs onto the A90 has been used to add a turning circle, while a new bus road has been constructed for easier access.
It is hoped that the improvements will boost passengers numbers and help the facility bounce back after the pandemic.
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach Bluebird, which operates some of the services at Ellon Park and Ride, said: “Ellon Park and Ride has been a fantastic facility for the communities north of Aberdeen.
“Prior to the pandemic it was our most popular park and ride facility in the region with year-on-year passenger growth of 3% to 4%.
“As a result of the government advice around travel the site has understandably been quieter since March last year, however we will continue to look forward to welcoming more passengers back on board from the expanded site in 2022 – as and when government restrictions ease.”