A bus operator last night confirmed that no decision had yet been made on the future of north-east bus routes despite council funding being axed.
The local authority aims to save £200,000 a year by chopping services across the region after agreeing to a new transport budget.
Bus operators including Stagecoach have now been left to negotiate with the council about how the changes will be implemented.
As it stands, the routes are currently subsidised by Aberdeenshire Council because they are not profitable for the firms to operate alone.
Funding could be pulled from eight routes – including the peak-time 220 Kirkton of Skene/Elrick to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, 103 Cookney-Aberdeen and 252 New Deer-Mintlaw-Fraserburgh services, which run Monday to Friday.
Other services under threat include the 210 Tarland to Aboyne inter-peak run, which runs on Mondays and Wednesdays; the Sunday night route between Aberdeen-Westhill (the X17) and the Friday and Saturday evening run from Laurencekirk-Montrose Railway Station (9).
Last night, a spokeswoman for Stagecoach said no decision had yet been made on whether it will foot the bill for the service beyond May 7, when its agreement with the council ends.
She said: “Any announcement on the impact on the wider bus network will be announced in due course.
“We are still discussing with Aberdeenshire Council how these changes may impact on services we provide at our own commercial risk.”
Council chiefs have said they cannot “justify” spending the money on buses which struggle for passengers.
Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping has branded the shake-up “disappointing”.
“Bus companies are private enterprises and they run services for profit and it is pointless for the council to pay out thousands of pounds on buses where hardly anybody is using them,” he added.
“Sadly that is the way it works.”
And yesterday North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “There are two routes affected in my ward – it’s regrettable.
“In an ideal world we’d be attempting to do the opposite. Unfortunately, there’s only so much money and passenger numbers are dropping, so it becomes uneconomical.
“But it’s not a win-win for anybody.”