A new electric bus service described as “pioneering” is being piloted in rural Moray. It is expected to cut emissions by up to 70%.
For the first time in at least seven years, the communities between Aberlour and Forres will be connected by public transport, thanks to investment from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund and ERDF funding. The new service, m.connect, is a HITRANS project operated by Moray Council.
Yesterday, 13 June, saw the formal launch of Moray’s new eco-friendly bus service, which offers a ‘hail and ride’ option for customers – meaning the driver will pick up and drop off passengers at any safe point along the route, which takes in Aberlour, Craigellachie, Knockando, Archiestown, Dallas, Rafford and Forres.
Described as “ideal for commuters thanks to the convenient timetabling, for tourists hopping between Speyside’s countless visitor attractions, and for connecting locals in Moray’s rural communities who would otherwise face lengthy public transport journeys, or rely on a car to get around”, the new service will operate on weekdays. It will leave Aberlour at 7.20am, terminating in Forres at 8.30am, with the return journey leaving Forres at 17.10.
Councillor Allan Henderson, Chairman of HITRANS said: “m.connect is a very welcome addition to the Moray area. It’s an important step towards joining up our rural communities and I would urge locals to take advantage of the free trial and jump on board.
“It’s important for the future that we all consider green public transport as a serious alternative to taking the car and this service takes a positive step in enabling that.”
Leader of Moray Council, Councillor Graham Leadbitter said: “I am delighted that Moray is the first rural area to trial this new type of travel. We know the significant impact electric buses have had in urban areas and we are keen to demonstrate that clean, green public transport is a sustainable and economical way forward for rural areas too.”
Timetable and further information is available on https://bustimes.org/services/369-aberlour-forres?date=2019-06-17
Further investment in a low carbon Speyside is also being celebrated at the weekend.
Moray Council is hosting a community event in Alice Littler Park in Aberlour on Sunday 16 June from 12-4pm. Attending will be Home Energy Scotland, Sustrans, HiTrans, Outfit Moray, Living Streets, Moray Carshare and Dicksons of Inverness, who’ll be showcasing active and sustainable travel initiatives in the area.
Residents and visitors will have the chance to try out electric bikes and cars, and a fun range of other bikes. Hot drinks, ice cream and other refreshments will be available.
It forms part of the £810,000 grant awarded to Moray Council by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge project, and Transport Scotland, to encourage Speyside communities to explore a range of options for changing to low carbon and active travel modes for everyday journeys.
Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, is looking forward to attending the event: “Speyside has welcomed significant investment in low carbon travel initiatives, which will help transform the way people travel in the area. I’m interested to hear from residents and visitors alike how they’re embracing these opportunities.”