Home   News   Article

Community groups, a local Moray Councillor and Moray’s MSP are demanding that Stagecoach continues its number 32 route through Findhorn and Kinloss


By Garry McCartney

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
The number 32 - currently providing a vital link between Forres, Elgin, Kinloss and Findhorn - will no longer pass through the villages from August 19.
The number 32 - currently providing a vital link between Forres, Elgin, Kinloss and Findhorn - will no longer pass through the villages from August 19.

LOCAL village communities are calling for planned cuts to their public transport services to be stopped.

As part of sweeping changes to north east bus services by Stagecoach - including possible redundancies - Findhorn will be left without a commercial bus service when the number 32 no longer stops in Kinloss, Findhorn or Forres from mid-August.

A spokesperson for Stagecoach North Scotland said: "Bus use remains low west of Burghead, and with increased operating costs and our continued investment in newer, greener vehicles, changes to our services are required.

“Removing a service is never an easy decision, and unfortunately Service 32 will no longer serve Findhorn from August 19."

Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council chairwoman Anne Skene believes the loss of the service will adversely affect residents of all ages.

“This is a real blow to our communities, especially for those who depend on public transport. The morning and evening buses are busy with people going to and returning from work who have no other means of getting into the towns.

“There is a large elderly population in Findhorn and Kinloss who depend on the bus to get to medical appointments and to do their shopping.

“The bus service is often the only means of transport for young people.

“And Ecovillage residents will also be badly affected. Many do not have cars and Moray Carshare is about to close down.”

Former Moray Councillor Anne Skene also recognises the importance of a commercial bus service to Finhorn and Kinloss.
Former Moray Councillor Anne Skene also recognises the importance of a commercial bus service to Finhorn and Kinloss.

Mrs Skene also highlighted that the key link to villagers is the service to Forres, where connections can be made to Elgin or Inverness by bus or train.

The Findhorn Village Conservation Company, whose purpose is to increase sustainable development on behalf of the community, also believes the cancellation will have a profound impact.

Trustee Cathy Low said: “Young people in Findhorn and Kinloss depend on buses to reach college, sports, social activities and work. Findhorn has few young adults living in the village so businesses are reliant on staff coming in from the surrounding area.

“The young person’s bus pass has been positive for many young people but if you live in Findhorn this opportunity is now being taken away.“

Mrs Low claimed a downward spiral effect will hit local businesses and the visitor experience.

She said: “The Findhorn Village Centre and hostel will be impacted as many of the guests travel by public transport.

“With no bus service, parking is going to get more intense as the beaches will only be available to those with their own transport.”

The Findhorn Village Conservation Company trustee Cathy Low argues that the service is vital.
The Findhorn Village Conservation Company trustee Cathy Low argues that the service is vital.

While Moray Council’s M.Connect on-demand service will continue to serve Findhorn, as of August 19, Stagecoach service number 32 will start at Elgin and terminate at Burghead.

Mrs Low hopes that a sustainable bus service can be provided for Findhorn, highlighting that double decker buses provide some of the current service.

Forres area Moray Councillor and Findhorn resident Draeyk van der Horn believes the cut “is an absolute disgrace”.

He said: “It demonstrates why we need to have buses in public hands.

“The director of Moray Art Centre expressed concerns, stating that many volunteers who rely on the bus to reach the building would have no option but to stay home.”

Green Moray Councillor and Findhorn resident Draeyk Van Der Horn.
Green Moray Councillor and Findhorn resident Draeyk Van Der Horn.

Cllr van der Horn claimed that he rarely passes a bus stop in the villages without seeing people waiting on a bus.

“If the service is underused then show us the evidence,” he said. “At a time when we are encouraging people to use public transport for the sake of the environment, this decision is a huge blow and made without any consultation.”

Cllr van der Horn has written to Stagecoach's chief executive officer, Claire Miles, urging immediate reversal of the decision.

He added: “There is substantial evidence that we need a connected public transport network. Perhaps if Stagecoach dropped prices, it would generate more passengers …

“Either way, I would like to see a more collaborative approach to transport that connects active travel to public transport and encourages us to leave the car at home.”

Along with scrapping the Findhorn buses, Stagecoach has warned that two Aberdeenshire depots could close and some “engineering functions” moved from Elgin to Inverness.

Also included in the review are plans to stop the 35 bus - the coastal route between Inverness and Aberdeen - running between Inverness and Elgin. In its place a new service, number 12, will run between Inverness and Elgin and stop at Grant Drive in Thornhill - bypassing Auldearn.

Elsewhere in Moray, peak-time M98 buses between Elgin and Keith are being scrapped.

The company said the decision came due to financial pressure stemming from tender losses, reduced passenger demand and higher costs. They added that they plan to discuss the changes with Moray Council and other local authorities.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead.

A spokesperson for Richard Lochhead MSP - who is recovering from illness - described the changes as “extremely concerning”.

She said: “The loss of the Kinloss and Findhorn stops on the number 32 service will leave many residents isolated.

“The likely loss of jobs from the Elgin depot is also very worrying.

“It is vital that public transport is available for people living in out-of-town areas. We will be requesting a meeting with representatives from Stagecoach to raise the concerns of Richard’s constituents and to seek assurances that everything is being done to avoid redundancies.”

A petition calling for the cut to Stagecoach’s number 32 service to be reversed is available to sign in Findhorn Village Store.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More