A New Year Gift for Commuters
First Bus and Stagecoach, the two major bus operators in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, have announced that they will offer free bus travel across the region every weekend in January 2023. This is a part of a joint initiative to encourage more people to use public transport and reduce carbon emissions. The free bus travel will be available on all First Bus and Stagecoach services within Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, including the night bus services, from Saturday 6th January to Sunday 28th January 2023.
The bus operators have teamed up with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, and Nestrans, the regional transport partnership, to launch this scheme, which is funded by the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund. The fund aims to support bus services and infrastructure improvements across Scotland, and to promote bus travel as a sustainable and convenient mode of transport.
How to Avail the Free Bus Travel
To avail the free bus travel, passengers do not need to book in advance or show any ticket or card. They can simply board any First Bus or Stagecoach bus within Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire on any weekend in January 2023, and enjoy the ride for free. However, passengers are advised to check the timetables and routes of the bus services before travelling, as some services may have reduced frequencies or changes due to roadworks or other factors. Passengers can also use the First Bus app or the Stagecoach app to plan their journeys and track their buses in real time.
The free bus travel is valid for all passengers, regardless of their age, status, or destination. However, concessionary travel card holders, who already enjoy free bus travel across Scotland, are requested to continue to scan their cards when boarding the bus, as this helps the bus operators to monitor the passenger numbers and claim reimbursement from the Scottish Government.
The Benefits of the Free Bus Travel Scheme
The free bus travel scheme is expected to bring multiple benefits to the passengers, the bus operators, and the environment. Some of the benefits are:
- It will save money for the passengers, who can travel for free on the weekends and spend their savings on other things.
- It will attract more people to use the bus services, especially those who normally drive or use other modes of transport, and give them a chance to experience the convenience and comfort of the bus travel.
- It will reduce the traffic congestion and parking problems in the city and the towns, as fewer cars will be on the road on the weekends.
- It will reduce the carbon footprint and the air pollution, as buses are more fuel-efficient and emit less greenhouse gases than cars.
- It will support the local economy and the tourism, as more people will be able to visit the shops, restaurants, attractions, and events in the region on the weekends.
- It will boost the morale and the loyalty of the bus drivers and the staff, who will see more passengers and more appreciation for their services.
The Reactions to the Free Bus Travel Scheme
The free bus travel scheme has received positive reactions from the passengers, the bus operators, the councils, and the government. Some of the reactions are:
- A passenger, who commutes from Stonehaven to Aberdeen every weekday, said: “This is a great initiative, and I will definitely take advantage of it. I usually drive on the weekends, but now I will use the bus instead. It will save me money on fuel and parking, and it will also be less stressful and more relaxing.”
- A spokesperson for First Bus said: “We are delighted to offer free bus travel to our customers every weekend in January 2023, in partnership with Stagecoach, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, and Nestrans. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our bus services and to encourage more people to choose the bus as their preferred mode of transport. We hope that this scheme will have a positive impact on the environment, the economy, and the wellbeing of our customers and our staff.”
- A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “We are pleased to be part of this joint initiative to offer free bus travel across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire every weekend in January 2023. This is a generous gesture from the Scottish Government’s Bus Partnership Fund, and we are grateful for their support. We hope that this scheme will attract new and existing customers to our bus services, and that they will enjoy the benefits of travelling by bus.”
- The leader of Aberdeen City Council said: “This is a welcome news for the residents and the visitors of Aberdeen, who will be able to travel for free on the bus every weekend in January 2023. This is a great way to start the new year, and to support our vision of making Aberdeen a more sustainable and livable city. We are proud to be part of this scheme, and we thank the Scottish Government, First Bus, and Stagecoach for their collaboration and contribution.”
- The leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: “This is a brilliant scheme for the people of Aberdeenshire, who will be able to travel for free on the bus every weekend in January 2023. This is a great incentive for them to use the bus more often, and to explore the beautiful and diverse attractions and destinations in our region. We are happy to be part of this scheme, and we appreciate the Scottish Government, First Bus, and Stagecoach for their partnership and generosity.”
- The transport minister of the Scottish Government said: “This is a wonderful scheme for the commuters and the travellers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, who will be able to travel for free on the bus every weekend in January 2023. This is a part of our commitment to support the bus sector and to promote the bus travel as a green and smart choice. We are glad to be part of this scheme, and we commend the Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Nestrans, First Bus, and Stagecoach for their cooperation and innovation.”