Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing, Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray MSP, has officially launched Moray’s newest bus service, m.connect.
The Cabinet Secretary also unveiled the first name for an electric vehicle in the service, suggested by members of the public.
‘Bus Lightyear’ was suggested by Ryan Milton, from Keith; Charley Riley, P5 at Dyke Primary School; and the Nat 2 Business Group at the SED base in Buckie High School.
The on-demand service is part of Moray’s first phase of a 10 year growth plan for the Bus Revolution project.
It is the second project to enter the delivery phase from Moray’s £100m Growth Deal.
The project is funded through £4m of Scottish Government funding and £300,000 from Moray Council.
Available for anyone in Moray to book, m.connect offers an app that allows users to create and manage journeys flexibly.
Bus ticket features, vehicle tracking and notification options are all part of the app function, with passengers able to book up to two weeks in advance and up to one hour before travel.
The service has also retained the telephone booking line, retaining elements of continuity for existing customers.
The Cabinet Secretary met with Moray Council’s Bus Revolution project team, the Moray Growth Deal board, and pupils from Speyside High School before boarding the bus to get to his next appointment.
Scottish Government Wellbeing Economy Secretary, Neil Gray MSP, said:
“I congratulate our local partners on delivering the Bus Revolution electric bus service.
“These clean, green vehicles will reduce emissions from public transport in Moray, helping us reach net zero by 2045 and benefiting users and communities.
“The Moray Growth Deal is creating a sustainable and prosperous local economy, where transport in rural areas is more easily accessible.”
Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Marc Macrae says the service is already having a positive impact on the community.
“m.connect builds on our award-winning on-demand bus service and is providing residents in our largely rural region with much needed transport options to commute, shop and for leisure activities.
“We heard today that there’s been a 30% uplift in users with many using the new app to manage their journey – that’s an astonishing achievement in just a few months.
“With over 1,500 app downloads and 6,000 journeys completed since launching, m.connect is in a great position to keep growing in use.
“We know the service was needed, we heard the community when they told us transport was a barrier to some activities so I’m delighted we’re delivering, through the Moray Growth Deal, a solution to the issue.
“Congratulations as well to all those who provided us with a fitting name for the first vehicle to be named and a big thank you to everyone who took part in the competition – we had a whopping 222 names suggested.”
The other names selected to adorn the electric fleet of m.connect vehicles will be unveiled in future.