COUNCILLORS have hit out at the quality of public transport in the area.
The criticisms came during discussions of a draft Local Transport Strategy Plan which was presented at the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meeting last week.
One of the key areas which was highlighted in the draft was the “improvement of local transport services.” Councillors all backed the draft’s proposals and vented their frustration at the state of public transport in the area.
Councillor Mike Sullivan described the issue of people not using public transport as “a chicken and egg problem.” He said: “We have got to get better public transport.” He criticised the train times through Stonehaven and joked that between some trains you could “have a picnic on the rail line for over an hour and not get run down,” however he also emphasised that he was not encouraging anyone to go onto the railway lines as this is both dangerous and illegal.
He said: “You can stand outside Stonehaven Station and watch tourists get off the train. Then you see them think Where do we go now? There is no bus there to take them to the Town Centre.”
He added that there was no integration between the buses and trains in Stonehaven and said: “It will not take a lot of effort to change it.”
Councillor Bellarby echoed these concerns. He said: “An integrated transport system is highly desirable.”
Along with criticisms of transport within Stonehaven, transport in-land was also criticised with Laurencekirk highlighted as an area where public services were bad.
Councillor Tom Fleming explained how the new hourly coastal bus from Dundee to Aberdeen served the costal villages well, but he expressed his confusion as to why a similar service does not run along the A90. He said: “When you come in-land transport melts away like snow off a dyke.”
Councillor Mollison echoed this criticism of public transport around Laurencekirk describing it as “appalling.”
School transport was also highlighted as an area which must be improved. Councillor George Carr voiced his concerns over congestion caused by parents driving children to school. He said: “We should be a little more imaginative in terms of school transport. I think this will need to come from schools themselves but this is a problem which needs to move forward.”
Councillor Carl Nelson voiced his concerns over how long the debate over transport has been going on explaining that similar issues had been discussed at a meeting in 2007.
He said: “I know the challenges but four years on, how much has really been done? The problems haven’t been solved. We have today another very nice document and I wonder what will actually be achieved by 2015.”
The Councillors comments have been noted as part of the consultation into the Local Transport Strategy.