Seminar to focus on how rural bus services could better meet community needs

How rural bus services could be better tailored to meet community needs will come under the spotlight at the University of Aberdeen tomorrow (Wednesday 18 February).

The varying success of Government policies such as concessionary bus fares will be examined in a lunchtime seminar by Margaret Currie, a research fellow at the UHI prospective University of the Highlands and Islands.

Rural transport in Aberdeenshire and Orkney will be of particular focus in the talk which will provide an insight into how some policies which aim to provide greater accessibility may be ineffective, particularly for the most vulnerable groups of society.

Ms Currie's seminar - Assessing bus support policies for their accessibility benefits in rural areas takes place as part of a series of lunchtime seminars exploring crucial rural issues hosted by University's Institute for Rural Research (IRR).

Ms Currie said: "Many policies are in place to provide financial support to bus services in Scotland.  The key purpose of a number of these policies is to overcome issues of accessibility which face people who are living in rural areas.  However, these policies have varying success when applied to real life transport issues.  My seminar will provide an overview into a study I have undertaken looking at how effectual they are in different scenarios. 

"For example, whilst concessionary fares are in place to provide elderly passengers with economical travel options, many people in my study were unable to get to the bus stop and benefit from this policy; instead having to pay for alternative transport. 

"The overall picture suggests that there is a greater need for flexibility in rural transport services and that more emphasis should be placed on the needs of individual geographical areas and communities.   Giving a higher level of importance to public consultation when creating and assessing transport policies for rural communities, may go some way to resolving the issue."

Margaret Currie's seminar takes place between 1-2pm tomorrow (Wednesday 18 February) in room G15, St Mary's, Elphinstone Road, Old Aberdeen. 

The seminar is free and open to the public.  Prior registration is not required. 

For full listings of the speakers presenting during the lunchtime seminar series visit or contact David Watts ( Seminars are free and prior registration is not required. All are welcome.

The University of Aberdeen's Institute for Rural Research specialises in theoretical and applied rural research which promotes inter-disciplinary approaches to complex research and practical policy issues.