GAUN green is on aabody’s mynd at the mínty, an sae it shoud be.

Oor bonnie planet is at an affa danger acause o climate chynge an if we want generations tae cam tae be able tae enjey it the wye that we can, we hae tae tak some preservative meisurs. Ae ane that they hark on aboot aa the time on the TV an radio is chyngin the wye that we traviel. “Fit wye nae car share or tak publictransport tae yer wark?” cries the wifie on the radio. “Weel”, ony listener in the north-east will tell her: “Car sharin isnae aye feasible, an public transport up here is a shambles on tap o bein a flemmin fortune.”

It shoud be pyntit oot that if ye drew a line fae Aiberdeen tae Elgin the hail area tae the east o ’at line is a region athoot ony kyne o public transport except for buses. Ye’ll find that, in the north-east, aire’s a hail skelp o the kintra athoot ony access tae train services, an aire’s definitely nae trams or unnergrunds like that fit can be fund in the central belt. We hae nane o that up here, anely buses tae rely on tae get us fae A tae B if it’s anither, mair environmentally freendly option tae takin yer car that ye’re aifter. The problem wi that is that fowk in the north-east o Scotland fin bus prices tae be absolute extortion (an it isnae jist Aiberdonian public transport users livin up tae their reputation o bein ticht fistit).

This is caused bi twa bus companies haein a monopoly in the region. If ye’re leukin tae traivel within the city o Aiberdeen, ye anely really hae the choice o First Bus, unless, bi chunce, ye’re gaun somewye covered bi the Stagecoach buses heidin oot o the city. For them wantin tae gaung fae ony ither toon intae the city, or jist tae tak ony ither public transport route, ye’ve nae really ony ither option but tae traivel wi Stagecoach.

The lack o rival bus companies, or even jist ony ither form o public transport means that aire’s naethin keepin doon the price o bus tickets, acause the bus companies ken that mony fowk hae nae ither means o getting aboot, sae will continue tae pye dear bus prices, as the prices continue tae gaung up an up. Nae anely daes this exploit fowk in poverty, but it doesnae exactly encourage fowk tae tak public transport in a bid tae save the warld fae air pollution caused bi vehicles either. A puckle o higher education establishments across the city are tryin tae fecht back agin the price o student bus tickets in the city an Aiberdeenshire though. A group o student an staff representatives fae Aiberdeen University, Robert Gorden University an North East Scotland College hiv attendit meetings in order tae plan an discuss fit micht be the best wye tae reduce the prices o student day tickets an single jurnay tickets, makin higher education mair accessible for fowk fa mebbe cannae afford bus prices the wye that they are the noo.

Students in Aiberdeen pye £3.70 for a First Bus day ticket, whiles students jist doon the road in Dundee pye £2.60 for a Stagecoach day ticket. That poun difference maun fair add up. But it isnae jist students affected bi ridiculously priced bus fares, it’s faimilies, commuters an the environment an aa. Fit a shame, then, that aire doesnae seem tae be ony ither groups in the area strivin tae dae onythin aboot the issue.

Aire has been a haunfae o recent improvements tae bus services in the north-east ower recent ’ears, sic as Stagecoach introducing a policy farby jobseekers are entitlet tae a gye big discoont in bus fares tae help them back intae wark.

Forby that, the introduction o contactless pyements on baith city and rural buses has made it easier tae traivel bi bus, especially seein as First Bus will only tak the exact pyement in cash and dinnae gie oot chynge. In fact, in September last year, aifter implimentin the new pyement method, First Bus recorded that anely 26% o bus users in Aeiberdeen actually pyed bi cash, the rest optin for digital means o pyement.

But still, the nummer o bus users across the kintra has fa’an bi 100 million in the past 10 ’ear, whiles aire’s been an increase o 13% o the amount o cars registered in Scotland in the past twalve ’ear – ’at isnae a coincidence, an it isnae daein the environment ony guid at aa.

Daes this mean that it’s aboot time that aire was mair pressure on bus companies tae dae a better job at a better price? Absolutely. Bus prices arnae the anely thing pittin fowk aff usin public transport in Aiberdeen city an Aiberdeenshire.

It wadnae be sae bad if the buses fowk were pyein tae use were reliable, an turned up fan they were supposed tae. Aftentimes they dinnae bother tae turn up at aa, wi nae prior warnin. Accessibility for disabled passengers traivellin fae north-east toons intae the city bi bus has tane a turn for the worst in aa.

In 2015, Stagecoach put £5.5m intae its new Buchan Xpress bus fleet. Unfortunately it didnae put ower muckle consideration intae the fact that a gye great amoont o their users were elderly or disabled, as their new buses hiv maist o the seats up at the tap o a steep set o stairs, wi only twa at the bottom for onybody wi mobility issues.

Bus traivel is niver gaun tae owertak car traivel in the north-east, purely due tae the spread oot nature o the rural landscape. Up here it seems that eco-freendly cars are gaun tae hae tae be the wye o the future. Nivertheless, impruiven bus prices an services wad likely encourage fowk tae help oot the environment bi makin a puckle mair jurnays bi bus.