BUS TRANSPORT IN NORTHERN SCOTLAND.
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MHE Elgin and District Motor Bus
Co., Ltd., who, six years ago, had their beginning under the name of William Macdonald and Co., have had no reason to regret their enterprise in running a system of motorbuses from Elgin, the county town of Moray, to coast and country towns and villages. On the contrary, the company have progressed rapidly and steadily, and one of the more recent developments was the linking up of Banffshire with Morayshire just over a year ago through the crosscpuntry route, by means of the extended use of the company's buses.
Needless to say, summer is the ideal time for passenger road transport, when every available vehicle is most advantageously employed, and the maximum time-table is in full swing. Then, the many beauty spots of Morayshire, probably the most picturesque county in the North of Scotland, can be admired to the greatest degree. But during the winter months the main bus routes are regularly patronized by the general public, and to country folks especially the motorbuses have proved invaluable at all seasons.
The cathedral city of Elgin, in which there is a multitude of shops, although there are few industries, has proved an ideal rendezvous for the buses. The L. and N.E. and L.M. and S. railway stations at Elgin are at least a quarter of a Mile distant from the main thoroughfare of the town, but incoming shoppers from coastal and country dis
tricts who travel by bus, are literally transported to the shop doors.
Two Albion single-deck buses, each 'with a seating capacity for 32 passen • gers, were first employed. The number has since then been increased to six, and there is the prospect of other vehicles being added to the fleet. One of the buses runs daily all the year round, ,according to time-table, from Elgin east wards for about six miles to Lassie mouth, a growing seaport and summer resort which has been brought out of
obscurity by its association with an ex-Prime Minister (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald).
The Elgin-Lossiemouth route is regularly patronized by fishermen, fisher
wives, -travellers and business men.
During the summer it often happens that extra buses have to be employed
on this -route in consequence of the large -influx of southern visitors. During week-ends, and on Sundays especially, passenger traffic is -exceptionally heavy. _
Another bus runs by a zigzag route in a north-westerly direction to the vil lage of Hopeman and the town of Burg head, both seaports. The length of the single journey is about .10 miles. 'Burg head, it may be mentioned, is one of the most ancient places in the north, possessing. what is regarded as a Roman well ; the burgh has a special interest for the antiquary.
The other routes include those to Forres, a small burgh about 12 miles west of Elgin, and to Fochabers (Banffshire), 10 miles to the east. where Gordon Castle, the palatial residence of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, is located. This route is continued towards the coast, and the bus on its outward journey takes passengers to Portgorden Village, Buckle, Portessi and Cullen.
The extension of the but service to Banffshire towns and villages, as al
ready stated, was initiated only a year ago, and it has proved a great boon to the public. In fact, sufficient scope has been found for the services of motorbuses belonging to the firm of Messrs. Miller, Buckle, as well as for those of the Elgin company.
Apart from the. services run according to time-table, the motorbuses are constantly in demand for other purposes such as picnic parties during the stimmer,, and in connectionwith social functions, concerts, etc., in the winter. In this respect they have played a large part during the past few years and have supplied a long-felt want, espeCially out-of-the-way places where no travelling facilities are available.
• Not the least important use to which the smaller type of pneumatic-tyred saloon bus has been put—this type is becoming increasingly popular—is that of circular touring, which, of course, takes place only in the summer. Some of the districts covered are Tomintoul, Strathpeffer, Falls of Foyers, etc., and the beauty of woodland and landscape " scenery, coupled with the genial climate and bracing air of Morayshire, makes these tours a source of pleasure and health.
G enerally speaking, motorbus travelling in Morayshire has not hitherto been
• • espeoially comfortable, as all of the buses were originally fitted with solid tyres. With the rapid development of all forms of traffic, the roads became terribly pot-holed and jolting was for some years a common but rather un-pleasant experience. The state of the roads generally has now happily been
With a view to increasing the cornfort of travelling, the Elgin and Dis; trict Motor 16us Co., Ltd., took an iniportant step six months ago, when they aadded a new Albion bus to theil fleet which is fitted with giant pneumatic tyres. Tim trial trip of this vehicle took place to Findhorn, via the lovely wooded glen of Pluscarden, and was taken part in by the town councillors of
The company have since had three of their vehicles fitted with giant pneumatics, and it is intended to replace the .solid tyres on all their buses with the more up-to:date type. According to the manager of the bus company (Mr. Wm. Maedonald), this procedure is Worth the expense it entails, for in consequence of much reduced vibration in the buses the expenditure in tyres will be almost compensated for by a reduction in running expenses, and the acme of comfort, which is most desirable, will be at tained. • It may be noted that no system of heating has so far been provided for the buses, but an improvement such as this, which is so desirable in the winter, will doubtless be devised in the course of time.
In an interview our representative had with Mr. Macdonald it was stated that the outlook for passenger road transport in Morayshire and Banffshire was as bright as ever. From the commencement, it was the aim of the company to supply and maintain a thoroughly efficient and reliable motorbus service. This they have done to the public advantage, and their efforts have duly met the re ward they deserved. "Here, aa elsewhere, we have proved that passenger, road transport has came to stay and to develop," was Mr. Macdonald's closing remark.
The popular and enterprising secretary of the company is Mr. J. R. Hamilton.