East Lothian Courier seeks local views on axed bus routes

The East Lothian Courier newspaper is seeking the views of people in villages across the county who will be directly affected by the cuts planned by First bus this June.

Some of the growing list of comments on the East Lothian Courier's Facebook page.

Kirsty Gibbins, the paper’s Editor, wrote on it’s Facebook page, “We’d like to hear comments and views from people in East Lothian affected by the significant cuts to First bus services across the county from June 10. We will be running a selection of quotes from the public in the paper so please send your reaction/letters to kgibbins@eastlothiancourier.com with your name, age and home town/village attached.”

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378 thoughts on “East Lothian Courier seeks local views on axed bus routes

  1. Ralph Averbuch

    This is a copy of a comment made on the East Lothian Courier website

    As I mentioned previously, more of the same old same old isn’t really a viable option.

    Reading through the subsequent comments above, I don’t think I’m hearing anyone who would be against the idea of local bus providers (such as Prentice/Eve coaches) being contracted to provide rural solutions that would connect villages such as Gifford, Ormiston and Pencaitland with hub towns such as Tranent and Haddington or the train station at Wallyford.

    This way people can access better bus routes, fares and more frequent provision to these hubs from the city.

    Of course, this could also be done as a Social Enterprise, as both the Labour group and the current ELC administration have mooted. But in the short term at least, something needs to be put in place to take up the slack when First abandons its contractual commitment to provide a bus service.

    Personally the notion of a not-for-shareholder-profit bus service appeals to me over contracting out. Equally, if it were a choice between a locally owned private bus company employing local staff that are based in East Lothian, over a bus company headquartered elsewhere, I’d opt for the former.

    The issue though is that the choices open to rural commuters look pretty poor right now. Again, I’d like to see political divisions set aside and for all factions at ELC to work together on both a short term plan and a longer term solution that puts the needs of deeply disillusioned commuters first (excuse the transport pun)…

    Resident & Chair Pencaitland Community Council.

  2. Dave O

    When I moved from Edinburgh to Pencaitland a couple of years ago, one of the many reasons Pencaitland appealed was it was part of the LRT (at the time) bus route and had easy access to the city.
    However, the more I used the service, the more I got a bad feeling about its future as I sat alone in an double decker time after time. People mainly used the rural part to get from Pencaitand to Ormiston, or Ormiston to Tranent. Very few seemed to be going all the way into Edinburgh.
    Then throw in the fare hikes caused by switching to First and the increasingly sparse service, that seemed like the nail in the coffin.
    I couldn’t put it better than Ralph… clearly extending Edinburgh centric routes to East Lothian like it’s some sort of suburb isn’t working. I hope that the proposed ELT will look at the problem with that in mind.

  3. Ralph Averbuch

    This is a copy of a comment made on the East Lothian Courier website

    On the Buses wrote: “what profit the routes being axes are all LOSS making…….hence ELC has to subsidise a number of the routes……..how do you make a profit from routes were more often or not the only person on the bus is the Driver……the 110 is a prime exmaple on the cockenzie to tranent stretch of the route “

    It’s hard to make snap judgments about what lead to certain routes being loss-making but factors which contributed to this seem to be that First priced up the routes (despite subsidies) to the point where people were discouraged from opting to use the service. Certainly that seems to be the sentiment I’ve heard.

    I also believe that the buses employed by First in rural East Lothian were really not fit for purpose. First could easily have considered sub-contracting key routes to local bus companies with smaller road buses – as had been done on some routes in the past, such as the Gifford Circle – to ferry passengers to Tranent or Haddington where more direct buses at more reasonable charges would be available.

    But surely we need to ask a much more fundamental question… if routes cannot be profitable (in the traditional P&L/shareholders sense) then can they be viable if run as a not-for-profit, with much more targeted service times and more appropriate forms of bus in service?

    I suspect there also ought to be a long and hard look at the route planning. Why, for example, attempt to run a bus route that goes all the way from Pencaitland, up hill and own dale until it goes into Edinburgh and then heads out to Balerno… and back?

    Surely it would be more expedient to run a Spoke and hub model where smaller rural-friendly sized buses were employed to bring villagers to the likes of Tranent, Haddington or train station drop-offs?

    I am no expert on public transport policy but I look at First’s approach and, like a lot of people, could see lots of holes in the company’s approach to rural transport provision.

    Perhaps it’s time to let an East Lothian centred solution, run from East Lothian with a focus on transport solutions over profits, have a go. I’m not suggesting that transport nirvana will ensue, but more of what’s been tried in the past will be unlikely to suddenly succeed.


    Ralph Averbuch

    Resident & Chair, Pencaitland Community Council

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