Ready2Go ready to go in Aberdeenshire

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A new DRT service will hit the roads of Inverurie in mid-August, replacing some normal bus services in the area

Aberdeenshire Council is preparing to launch its new demand responsive transport pilot scheme in the Inverurie area, where it will replace traditional fixed-route timetabled services. Aberdeenshire Council says that the new Ready2Go Around Inverurie service, which will begin operating on Monday 16 August, will provide better access to public transport and connect to main transport hubs in the area including Inverurie, Insch and Kintore railway stations.

Ready2Go Around Inverurie will operate from Monday to Friday between 0630 and 1930hrs and on Saturdays from 0730 to 1830hrs.

Unlike the council’s existing A2B dial-a-bus services, customers will be able to book at any time using the Ready2Go DRT app, available to download from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Passengers can request a bus at short notice or ask for a future departure or arrival time. If they want to travel as soon as possible, they will be provided with a pick-up time and location or if booking ahead will receive an acknowledgement, with the predicted pick-up time and location confirmed closer to the time of travel.

The app will enable passengers to plan their journeys and track their Ready2Go bus on a map in real-time before it arrives, and the system will also provide the times of any other alternative bus services operating in the area, the Council said.

Ready2Go also incorporates accessibility features, helping people with disabilities to use public transport with more assurance. It has been created in partnership with MaaS (mobility as a service) provider moovit.com.

Passengers without a smartphone who are unable to use the app can phone the council to make a booking, and bookings can be made by the individual who is travelling or on behalf of someone else. Passengers who are travelling with others can book for everyone at the same time.
Cllr Peter Argyle, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Since the Covid-19 emergency, travel needs and travel demands have evolved with a massive increase in people working from home, a surge in online shopping and the development of tele-healthcare. Peak workers’ travel requirements – which formed the previous service delivery priority – have diminished significantly and currently all travel demand by bus remains suppressed and generally more local.

“We have consulted with customers, stakeholders and suppliers to gain a far better understanding of travel needs and this has helped shape this excellent new flexible service which I am sure will be of real benefit to local residents.”

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “This is an exciting time for travel in and around the Inverurie area and I am confident this enhanced transportation initiative will provide a better, more flexible type of service for many passengers and make getting around far more convenient. I would like to thank our officers and software partner for getting this progressed in a short space of time and I am looking forward to learning from the pilot scheme and seeing how it may be applied in other areas of Aberdeenshire in the fullness of time.”

The service will be operated by Watermill Coaches using five brand new wheelchair-accessible minibuses. NESTRANS