Changes to Public Transport Services

Nikki Laird 2020, News

Latest update: 6 July

**From Monday 22nd June, face coverings will be mandatory on pubic transport**

Temporary changes to public transport services in the north east of Scotland are in place following advice around physical contact and non-essential travel in response to an increase in cases of the coronavirus. In Phase 2, public transport services will increase, though capacity will remain restricted due to physical distancing. The preference still remains to travel actively where possible.

Due to the quickly evolving nature of the situation, please be advised that all timetables may be subject to change. Please make sure to check the latest information available before travelling.


On 26th May, the Scottish Government announced their Transport Transition Plan, to prepare the transport system as we ease through and out of the Covid-19 crisis. It includes guidance on keeping public transport safe.

Advice on how to travel safely

For the safety of yourself and others, please follow the guidance below when travelling:

  • Stay at home if you or anyone in your household is experiencing coronavirus symptoms (new continuous dry cough, fever or the loss of or a change in your sense of smell or taste) or if you are self-isolating or you are shielding
  • Only travel if your journey is essential, for example, for work or shopping.
  • Consider walking or cycling, if you can, to reduce pressure on the road network and on public transport where capacity will be limited
  • From Monday 22nd June, face coverings will be mandatory on pubic transport
  • Plan your journey and leave additional time due to temporary restrictions or changes to previous timetables or schedules
  • Pay for your journey online, use smart ticketing, the operator’s mobile app, or contactless payment, if you can, to reduce cash handling
  • Comply with any signage or instructions on public transport or from transport staff as the safety measures in place are for everyone’s benefit
  • Keep yourself and others safe by maintaining the 2 metre physical distance rule
  • Where impossible to maintain 2 metre distancing, avoid physical contact and face away from others, keep the time you spend within 2 metres of others as short as possible
  • Be considerate of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser before and after every transport journey.



First Aberdeen

New timetables on most services begin from Monday 29th June, with an increase in frequency on most routes for customers.

Full details of these timetables are available online. As these may be subject to change further, customers are advised to check for the latest information on their dedicated web page.


From Monday 29th June 2020 bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray will increase in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions across Scotland.

Full details of these timetables are available online. As these may be subject to change further, customers are advised to check for the latest information on their dedicated web page.


ScotRail are continuing to operate a revised timetable to keep key workers, and those making essential journeys, moving.

From Monday, 15 June the number of services in operation will increase from 47 per cent of a normal timetable to 60 per cent. This will deliver 70 per cent of the normal number of seats.

Timetables are available from their website and mobile app. You can also check with Traveline Scotland at , or on 0871 200 22 33.


LNER have introduced a new, temporary timetable, to support those who have no other way to travel to make essential journeys, in a socially distanced way.

They advise that customers should:

  • plan ahead and buy tickets and make a reservation before visiting the station
  • check before travel
  • allow more time for journeys
  • wear a face covering to protect others if social distancing cannot be maintained
  • avoid travelling during the busiest times.

From Wednesday 17th June, all reservations, whether secured at the time of ticket booking or afterwards using the online reservation tool, will include a specific, socially distanced seat. LNER will be advising customers to follow the specific seat on their tickets and confirmation e-mails, which will also encourage customers to spread out on platforms. Households travelling in a group will continue to be permitted to sit together and should choose seats around one of their seat reservations.

LNER are looking to reintroduce additional Aberdeen services and their Inverness services as soon as possible. Running these services relies on lodging and hospitality being available for overnight stays for  crews, and they are continuing to explore options to enable this, aligned to current Scottish Government guidance.


The Scottish Government have advised that from 22 June you must wear a face covering on public transport or in a station, enclosed ferry terminal or airport. Young children are exempt from wearing a face covering, as are those people, for example, with health conditions for whom a face covering would be inappropriate. If you have an exemption, the Thistle Assistance Card or App is a safe and easy way to let public transport staff know.


Walking and cycling remain effective ways to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Under current guidelines from the Scottish government you can continue to get outdoors for exercise such as running, walking or cycling.

You should continue to exercise responsibly in line with physical distancing guidance by staying more than 2 metres apart from others. You can use outdoor space for recreational purposes, for example being able to sit in a park and playparks will reopen from Monday 29th June.