A raft of bus services supported by a north-east council will be reduced or withdrawn altogether.
Aberdeenshire Council has issued a list of routes that face being axed as a result of budget cuts and the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Some of the bus services have not been running since they were suspended during the latest Covid-19 lockdown and the rest are due to be stopped from May 31.
The local authority said the reduction in passengers using buses due to the pandemic, car ownership levels and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) ranking have all been taken into account.
Another factor is the money available for council-backed services which were reduced by £245,000 when Aberdeenshire Council set its budget in March.
As a result, the council’s transport service is cutting those services that provide the least value for money.
Most of the bus services are currently suspended but the council has confirmed three further changes.
The first departure from Westhill to Aberdeen on Saturday mornings will be withdrawn along with the 201 Aberdeen to Aboyne and Braemar Sunday service and the 747 service between Peterhead, Ellon and Aberdeen Airport stopping on May 31.
In some cases, the council’s dial-a-bus service will replace the existing routes.
The council will hold a short consultation period prior to the implementation of the changes.
Others affected include the 64 Blackdog to Aberdeen, 76/77 Fraserburgh town service, 81 Peterhead to Boddam bus and the 240 Oldmeldrum to Inverurie route.
Westhill councillor Alistair McKelvie said the local authority was in an “unfortunate position” when it came to funding the services.
He said: “The reduction in bus services announced recently, reflects the unfortunate position of Aberdeenshire Council, where it has had to, reluctantly, reduce its financial support to our Partners who provide the bus services.
“This will not be the first time cuts to the bus routes have been made as the council struggles with reduced revenues and budget restraints forcing changes such as these, and the council cannot continue to support poorly utilised bus routes.”
Fraserburgh and district councillor Charles Buchan said: “My group consisting of SNP, Labour and Independent councillors, rejected these cuts, as we recognised that these essential services are lifelines to our residents, but the present administration pushed them through.
“These cuts will fall disproportionally on the less well-off and the elderly, who have not cars, and need bus services to travel to work, and to access medical appointments.
“And can I encourage those in Fraserburgh and in the surrounding district affected by the cuts to make their voices held, and take part in the consultation if they haven’t already done so.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “We have tried to minimise the potential negative impacts for individuals and communities where possible, but would encourage anyone who feels they would be unduly affected to get in touch.
“We realise this may have a detrimental effect on passengers as well as some operators, but the council and communities will continue to have difficult decisions to make on the provision of local services into the future.
“These routes have been chosen primarily because they are not being used as well as would be expected, to justify the money spent by the council to support them.
“We are currently conducting a review of the way the council supports all bus services across Aberdeenshire, to ensure we are using the available money in the most effective way possible.”
For more details about which services will be affected by the changes visit