Bus times in Aberdeen are changing as of tomorrow due to the coronavirus pandemic, an operator has announced.
First Aberdeen said services will operate a revised Sunday timetable during the working week effective from Thursday.
That will not, however, apply to the morning rush hour as additional buses will be laid on to get key workers can and emergency service staff to work.
First Aberdeen said it is committed to continuing services wherever possible so those who need to make essential journeys, like health service and emergency workers, can continue to do so.
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including advice that people should leave home only to exercise once a day, travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”, shop for essential items and to fulfil any medical or care needs.
First Aberdeen chiefs said they have noticed a reduction in passenger numbers in Aberdeen in recent days.
The firm has written to the local traffic commissioner about its intentions.
It is understood that First Aberdeen is seeking assurances that it would not be penalised if it reduces or withdraws services the traffic commissioner would compel it to deliver in normal circumstances.
First Aberdeen managing director Andrew Jarvis said: “With much of the UK effectively ordered to stay at home for at least the next few weeks, we have made the decision to move to a Sunday timetable to support those who still need to get to and from work and get out to shops and pharmacies, while fulfilling our own role as vital key workers during this time of national crisis.
“Just a few weeks ago it was almost inconceivable these restrictions would be in place, which only underlines what a challenging, dynamic and rapidly evolving situation the UK faces, and one which First Aberdeen is monitoring and responding to day-by-day, hour-by-hour.”
Mr Jarvis added: “It’s important to emphasise we are in constant contact with stakeholders, including local authorities and ministers, and rest assured everything is being done to keep those key workers mobile as the nation comes together to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“We are doing everything possible to deploy staff across our operations with a view to minimising the impacts for everybody.
“Regular customers can be assured we will endeavour to get more frequent services back up and running as soon as the Government decides it is safe to do so.
“Please bear with us as given the fast-changing nature of the situation it will be difficult to keep all our communication channels updated with the latest information.”
First Aberdeen said its normal communication channels, such as timetable leaflets, it’s mobile app and timetable information at bus stops, may be outdated.
It said all service updates will be posted on its website here.