Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Bus service improvements between Dundee, Forfar, Brechin and Edzell will come into effect on Monday. The extended route will make new public transport links possible, particularly connecting Dundee and Angus residents with Stracathro Hospital. Stagecoach managing director Andrew Jarvis said: “An opportunity has arisen to make a number of improvements in the Angus area on services 20 and 21. “The revised timetables will be improved to ensure new public transport links will be possible for residents. “The newly branded vehicles are fully wheelchair accessible and benefit from CCTV, free wi-fi and ‘green’ Euro 5 engines. “With one branded buses operating in services 20/21 the routes will be easily recognisable.” Services 20 and 21 are part financially supported by Angus Council and additionally supported by transport partnerships Tactran and Nestrans. Service 21 operates between Forfar and Edzell but will extend to Dundee. Most service 20 journeys operate between Dundee and Forfar will be revised to operate as an extended service 21 to and from Edzell, Stracathro Hospital and Brechin, providing new direct links between Dundee and these areas. The frequency between Dundee and Forfar will be maintained. The new timetable will provide a 30-minute frequency of service between Dundee and Forfar and an hourly link between Dundee and Edzell. Angus Council’s transport spokeswoman Jeanette Gaul said: “The council is delighted to support Stagecoach Strathtay’s new services 20 and 21. “This replacement bus service provides better public transport links to Stracathro Hospital from Angus and Dundee. “The change in this service also allows adjustments to be made that enhance other local services, including those to Easterbank and Edzell Woods.” Stuart Keys, clinical services manager with NHS Tayside, said: “This new bus service will provide a very important link for patients and their families and friends. “Stracathro is a busy hospital that provides a wide range of planned care. “Having a daily service from Dundee is a great step forward and will help to patients from Tayside and Fife to organise their travel. “We are delighted that Angus Council has supported this new service.” Full timetable information for the routes are available to download at www.stagecoachbus.com. Photo by Angus Pictures
Stagecoach Strathtay is investigating a claim that one of its drivers swore at a passenger in Angus for not having the correct change. The alleged incident happened on the 73 service from Arbroath to Carnoustie last week and the female passenger used Twitter to make the complaint to the bus firm. She wrote: “Don’t appreciate being sworn at by a driver under his breath for not giving the exact fare! So rude! It’s just change!” A spokeswoman for Stagecoach Strathtay said: “We are aware of this complaint regarding our driver’s conduct and are currently investigating the full circumstances. “We are following our internal disciplinary procedures.”
Stagecoach Strathtay is withdrawing its 26 service after just six months. The bus, which runs from the city centre to Camperdown Park, was introduced in November but will be withdrawn on May 29. Stagecoach said there were not enough passengers to sustain the route. West End councillor Richard McCready said passengers will lose out by the withdrawal of the service and called for the regulation of buses. He said: “Companies cherry-pick profitable services and try to undermine other services, none of this goes any way to providing an integrated bus service which serves the needs of the people of Dundee.”
The “lifeline” Mill o’ Mains No 36 bus service has been saved. The contract for the service was awarded to Stagecoach Strathtay and the replacement service will operate under contract from January 12 2015 until August 13 2016. City development convener Will Dawson said: “This is great news for residents who have been campaigning to keep the service running.” Campaigner Jim Malone said: “I have set up a meeting with Will Dawson to discuss what sort of service will be coming with the new contract. “When the tenders were announced, they didn’t include the early morning service. Obviously we’re delighted but we’ll wait to see what sort of service we’ll get before we get too elated.” Council officers will seek views from the community over the next 12 months to help form decisions about the future needs of bus users. A spokesperson for Stagecoach Strathtay said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded the contract to operate service 36 by Dundee City Council from early January and look forward to operating this new route for our network.
All roads led to the 80s in Dundee at the weekend, as the owners of iconic local buses recreated the glory days of a former Tayside bus company. The streets of the city turned blue and orange as a group of enthusiasts came together to mark the 30th anniversary of the Strathtay company, which was founded in 1985. It once ran services throughout Tayside, with its distinctive livery seen on buses in and around depots in Arbroath, Blairgowrie, Crieff, Dundee, Forfar, Montrose and Perth. The Strathtay name disappeared from sight, however, when the firm was acquired by the Yorkshire Traction Company in 1992, which was itself taken over by Stagecoach in 2005. To celebrate the anniversary, however, a range of free services on preserved Strathtay buses was run from the Seagate Bus Station on trips to Gauldry, Muirhead, Monifieth, Kingoodie and Liff. Every one of the buses taking part once ran local routes for Strathtay, but arrived on this occasion from new homes as diverse as Glasgow and Chesterfield. Some had been specially repainted in the company’s distinctive colours for the event and many were being seen in public for the first time in years. Transport fans travelled from as a far as Paisley to see, photograph and ride on the buses, which they said had “something special” about them. Jed Scott, 28, who is from Errol, was among the bus owners and one of the key organisers of the celebration. He said: “There are six of us from the Dundee and Angus area who own preserved buses and when we realised it was 30 years since Strathtay was formed we decided to have a bit of fun and put the buses back on the roads for the public to enjoy. “Some of the buses are now very rare and many of them won’t have been seen for years so I’m not surprised we’ve been turning so many heads.” Jed admitted that it is “a huge job” to keep the buses on the roads and said he and his fellow enthusiasts had been working day and night to have the vehicles looking their best. One example which years ago served as a “Berry Bus” was scrubbed down and repainted to hit the road for the first time in 15 years. The event had the full support of Stagecoach, which currently runs bus services in the former Strathtay area and allowed the buses to gather at the bus station. Some members of staff volunteered to drive and conduct the bus services in their own time, while bosses even repainted and refurbished one double-decker model as a special anniversary gift.
They are a sight more common on the streets of London but the iconic Routemaster bus is about to make its mark in Tayside. The original double-decker buses famed for having an open-back platform and a conductor were taken out of service in 2005 after nearly 50 years of carrying passengers. However, Stagecoach Strathtay has now taken delivery of two New Routemaster buses the revamped model launched in 2012. It is understood they will be tried out on the No 73 route, which connects Ninewells Hospital and Arbroath, one of the few remaining routes in the UK to still have conductors collecting fares. The New Routemaster came into service in 2012. The buses cost about £355,000 each and feature a hybrid electric-diesel engine. The original Routemaster entered service with London Transport in 1956 and some remained in use until late 2005. Approximately 3,000 were built and more than 1,000 are still believed to be in existence. Strathtay Scottish operated a number of them in Dundee in the late 1980s. In response to an inquiry on the firm’s Stagecoach East Scotland Facebook page, a spokesman said: “I can confirm the vehicles have arrived and full details will be advised in due course.”
Resurfacing work in Blairgowrie town centre is set to affect traffic next month. Perth and Kinross Council says work will begin on the main A93 Blairgowrie to Rattray road on Sunday, September 9. The work will cover the section of road which runs through the town centre from Blairgowrie Bridge to the A926 High Street in Rattray. In a bid to restrict the resulting traffic problems, the work will be undertaken throughout the night, between 6pm and 6am. The scheduled period set aside to complete the resurfacing project is five days until September 14 and the road will be closed at certain times. A spokesman for the council said: ''The road will be open under traffic control between Sunday, September 9 and Tuesday, September 11, with delays possible. ''However, it will be closed on September 12 to September 14 between 6pm and 6am. ''During the closure, traffic will be diverted via the A923 Blairgowrie to Coupar Angus, A94 Coupar Angus to Meigle, B954 Meigle to Alyth and A926 Alyth to Blairgowrie roads. ''Pedestrians will not be affected by the closure and access will be maintained for emergency vehicles.'' The council has also warned that there will be alterations to bus services on the route. During the road closure, there will be the following nightly changes to scheduled bus services from September 12-14: Stagecoach Strathtay Service 57 journeys leaving Blairgowrie and going to and from Dundee will be diverted via Coupar Angus to Meigle, where shuttle buses will provide connections to and from Alyth and Rattray. The Stagecoach Strathtay Service 59 journeys at 18.30 from Rattray to Dundee and 23.00 return from Dundee will start and finish at Blairgowrie - passengers from Rattray to and from Dundee can either walk between Rattray and the Wellmeadow or use the shuttle service linking with Service 57. The last Stagecoach Strathtay Service 71 journey returning to Blairgowrie will terminate at Haugh Road, Rattray, from where passengers can walk to the Wellmeadow.
Dundee's network of buses may be improved after the council offered four new services to tender. It has offered contracts for the routes Kirkton to city centre, city centre to Ninewells Hospital, Ethiebeaton Park to Broughty Ferry/West Ferry and Claverhouse to city centre which could be worth up to £300,000 a year. Although the exact details are still to be negotiated, National Express Dundee and Stagecoach Strathtay are already considering taking on the services. A spokesman for National Express said, "We are looking with interest at all of the routes announced by the council." A Stagecoach Strathtay spokesman said, "Dundee City Council have issued tender details for a number of routes in the Dundee and Broughty Ferry area and we are currently evaluating the possibilities." The new services, which are scheduled for August, will be partially paid for by the council because the authority thinks they have a high social value. The services were put to tender after officials spent around four months reviewing the commercial and subsidised bus network and measuring levels of accessibility in Dundee. A council spokesman said, "The closing date for tendering is June 8. "A report is expected to go to the city development committee on June 27 to discuss the award of contracts."
The Tay Road Bridge was closed both ways for a time on Monday afternoon after a car was involved in a collision with a bus. An elderly couple were removed from their silver VW Polo on spinal boards and taken to Ninewells Hospital by ambulance as a precaution. The accident happened shortly after 2pm when the Stagecoach Strathtay bus and the car collided as both joined the bridge from separate ramps on the southbound carriageway. Emergency services were quickly on the scene with two ambulances and a paramedic unit accessing the bridge the wrong way up the northbound carriageway, which had been closed off by police. That was reopened as soon as the couple were taken away. Bridge manager Iain Mackinnon said: "There was no damage to the bridge apart from a small oil spill and the southbound carriageway was opened after 45 minutes." Police said the couple's injuries were not thought to be serious.