Covid-19: transport round-up

I’m reading through the reports for Wednesday’s Nestrans board meeting, and this summary of the local transport situation caught my eye:


Bus service levels are generally back to operating at pre-lockdown service levels. However, the passenger capacity of buses is reduced to around 50%, due to social distancing measures (single decker buses having 20 passenger capacity, and double decker buses having 40 passenger capacity). Bus companies are operating with physical distancing guidance of 1m plus mandatory face coverings for passengers. Enhanced cleaning regimes have been introduced.

Firstbus and Stagecoach are both providing information via their Apps on the available capacity of their buses. Both bus companies have put out publicity campaigns supporting the safe return of bus passengers to their services.


Across the Scottish network, demand has reduced by around 70%, although there is now evidence of growth returning. Similar to the bus companies, publicity campaigns have been undertaken supporting the safe return of rail passengers.

To the south of Aberdeen, it is highlighted that the rail network is experiencing significant disruption due to the closure of the line south of Stonehaven. This disruption is likely to continue for some time yet, with buses replacing trains between Aberdeen and Dundee. An hourly local rail service has been re-introduced between Aberdeen and Stonehaven [calling at Portlethen]. To the north of Aberdeen, most services have been re-introduced.


The initial lockdown period prompted a substantial reduction in activity at Aberdeen Airport, with many airlines either withdrawing services, or operating only a skeleton service. Operators are now slowly re-introducing services under revised operating protocols.

At the time of writing, access to Heathrow is provided twice-daily, Amsterdam 4 times per day, and Paris once per day. Other Scandinavian and UK regional destinations are being serviced typically with twice-daily frequencies, matching the range of destinations provided prelockdown. A smaller number of leisure routes have resumed, typically on a twice-weekly basis.


Ferry operations to the Northern Isles have been operating on a restricted timetable and capacity, carrying only those undertaking essential trips. The Northlink ferry service to Orkney and Shetland has resumed its Pre-Covid operational timetable, for both passengers and freight. However, due to physical distancing requirements, passenger capacity is reduced, and on-board facilities are restricted.


Figure 5 illustrates the number of cyclists at various cycle counters across Aberdeen. The dramatic rise in demand and its continued popularity is apparent, particularly routes associated with leisure use.

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