Pencaitland Community falls short of full Council – Seeks new Reps

Pencaitland Community Council needs representatives for Peastonbank/Glenkinchie, New Winton, Boggs Holdings, Fountainhall and more. Could that be you?

A recent letter in the East Lothian Courier laments the lack of locals stepping up to look out for their local area. Click to read.
A letter in the Courier laments lack of locals stepping up. Click to read.
Nominations recently closed for the twenty community councils within East Lothian. Most will return with no need for elections.

This has been the picture in the Pencaitland Community Council area for many years, with no elections ever having taken place for seats in this ward.

In all there are fifteen seats on Pencaitland’s Community Council with twelve taken up for the next session. Sadly, this means that we are under-represented.

We really want local representation for other parts of this ward including Peastonbank/Glenkinchie, New Winton, Boggs Holdings, Fountainhall and everywhere in-between. Equally, for a rural area we have no-one from the farming community nor anyone in their teens or 20s. Did you know you can be 16 and sit on the Community Council?

Pencaitland Community Council Area MapWe are searching for new blood to join the team. We need more voices on issues which directly affect you and your local environment. If you care about local matters then take the next step – come along to your local community council and see if you’d like to become a co-opted member.

Interested? Next Steps

Want to know more? Contact the current Community Council Chair, Ralph Averbuch, on 01875 340 641 or 07920 094 923 to discuss how you can get involved. Or you can email chair@pencaitland.org.

This is your chance to represent your local community and directly affect the way it develops in the future. Come along and be part of the team.

One Pencaitland bus timetable to rule them all (for now)

Local man Barry Hutton has put together a unified Bus Timetable for all services coming through Pencaitland. Here it is…

Local man Barry Hutton has been putting in some time to pull together a unified Bus Timetable for all services coming through Pencaitland. Here it is…

Pencaitland Unified Timetables - produced by Barry Hutton, June 2012 - click for PDF version

One of the challenges for anyone using more than one bus is knowing what time a service is due to arrive or depart from a given location and how much of a window this provides to change from one bus to the next. In putting together the following timetable, local man Barry Hutton has tried to pull together all the disparate details from various bus companies that pass through Pencaitland, in order to make it just that little bit easier to work out what’s due where and when.

We have created two versions. You can view and download the timetables in either DOC format or PDF.

Our thanks to Barry for putting in the hours to make this happen.

BUS SURVEY:

Pencaitland has joined forces with Humbie, East & West Saltoun and Bolton, Gifford and Ormiston Community Councils to find out what you want from the bus service. Register your views online now.

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Report: Joint Awareness Seminar held for Community Councils & Tenants’ Associations

An Awareness Seminar for Community Councils and Tenants’ associations in East Lothian was held last week. Here’s a summary of the event…

A Joint Awareness Seminar for Community Councils and Tenants’ associations in East Lothian was held at the Town House in Haddington last week. Here’s a summary from local community councillor Fiona Tennick.

Pencaitland Community Councillor Fiona Tennick
Pencaitland Community Councillor Fiona Tennick

This was organised (very effectively) in the Town House main hall by tables, rather than sitting in rows. Many people already knew each other and the whole thing was really a networking exercise, so I set about getting to know those around my table:

Irene Tait – Musselburgh Community Council
Councillor Jim Gillies
Mark Ormiston – Tenants’ Association, Ormiston
Joy Stewart – Tenants’ Association, Tranent

We were made to feel valuable, as the main line of communication between East Lothian Council and the communities attending; especially given the diversity of those communities.

Continue reading “Report: Joint Awareness Seminar held for Community Councils & Tenants’ Associations”

113 bus to get ‘every opportunity to prove its sustainability’

The good people behind RELBUS recently wrote to Lothian Bus with a number of concerns over the new 113 route to Ormiston & Pencaitland.

The good people behind RELBUS recently wrote to Lothian Bus with a number of concerns over the new 113 route to Ormiston & Pencaitland.

RELBUS contacted Lothian Bus with questions over the new 113 service to Ormiston and Pencaitland. Image Rob McDougall

Rural East Lothian Bus Users wrote to the bus company welcoming the new service but sought reassurance on a number of issues. RELBUS was curious exactly why it was deemed necessary to create the East Lothian Buses brand, discovering that:

“The operating name of ELB is a trading name to reflect the operating area of this service and hopefully it will develop brand loyalty.”

RELBUS and a number of residents of the villages now on the 113 route had wondered if the brand was simply a means of differentiating the new fare structure which sees bus users living in Ormiston and Pencaitland paying £1.50 more per day ticket than people traveling between Tranent and Edinburgh. Could it also make it easier for Lothian Bus to walk away from the route in the future?

“It is not our intention to instigate the 113 on such a short term basis that it will not be given every opportunity to prove its sustainability as you fear based on previous experience with other operators.”

On the positive side, as a trading name, and not a separately run subsidiary, this would suggest running costs will be shared across the whole of Lothian Bus’s business.

Fare structure was another key concern. Distances between Edinburgh city centre and Pencaitland/Ormiston are roughly the same to distances between routes from the city to towns and villages in Mid Lothian operated by Lothian Bus. The company said:

“Regarding the fare structure this is a wholly commercial decision and is intended to make the service viable allowing for the low passenger volumes beyond Tranent. While the fares are higher than on our main network they are still some 33 percent lower than those of the previous operator and, in addition, allow travelers to access our full network without additional cost which would, in fact, have been an additional cost beyond the present discount.”

However, this does miss the argument that creating a price differential over this relatively short further stretch from Tranent may discourage people from Pencaitland and Ormiston from using the bus. Instead, people may opt to drive their cars to Tranent, park in suburban side streets and catch the bus into town from there.

As RELBUS points out:

“The benefits of single fare structures are very clear where these operate. It should be remembered that the benefits are extended not just to the residents of the rural communities served, but to those who wish to travel there to see friends or enjoy the countryside. Or indeed so that carers can reach their destination.”

If you have used/are using the new 113 bus service please let us know what you think of it so far and leave a comment below.

BUS SURVEY:

Pencaitland has joined forces with Humbie, East & West Saltoun and Bolton, Gifford and Ormiston Community Councils to find out what you want from the bus service. Register your views online now.

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Campaigning for better rural transport: RELBUS regroups

RELBUS, the campaign group for better rural public transport in East Lothian, has appointed former Liberal Democrat councillor Barry Turner as Chair.

RELBUS, the campaign group for better rural public transport in East Lothian, has appointed former Liberal Democrat councillor Barry Turner as Chair.

Former councillor Barry Turner is the new Chairman of RELBUS

RELBUS has been updated in the light of First Bus’s cuts in services, which forced a review of contracts for many commercial services supported by the council and a general increase in awareness of issues surrounding public transport provision. Former Dunbar councillor Jacquie Bell has also joined the RELBUS committee.

Speaking about his appointment, Barry Turner, who was Environment and Transport Convener prior to the May elections when he lost his seat said: “I am a life-long bus enthusiast and I have spent my professional and political life campaigning for better public transport. I am delighted to be asked to chair RELBUS which has an important role to play in improving accessibility for those living in East Lothian’s more remote communities and promoting alternatives to private car use. I intend to use my experience to enable RELBUS to forge better links with the council, local communities, operators and the Scottish Government and its agencies. Recent events have shown that the way public transport is currently organised is simply not sustainable. We must find new and better ways to meet diverse local travel needs.”

Early priorities for RELBUS will be to follow up ideas coming out of the recent local conference on community and supported transport, to scrutinise and constructively comment on the council’s new Local Transport Strategy and urge setting up a Bus Passenger Forum.

It will also work closely with Community Councils to achieve a better understanding of local travel needs. If anyone wants more information about RELBUS and its purpose, or wants to put forward ideas, they should contact the organisation via the website www.relbus.org.uk.

RELBUS, short for Rural East Lothian Bus Users, is a volunteer-led group set up to campaign for better rural transport in East Lothian. RELBUS is a membership organisation and joining is free. It holds public meetings, meetings with operators and has and ongoing dialogue with local politicians of all parties and the local authority.

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East Lothian communities survey locals to assess bus needs

Following the success of the recent meeting to discuss bus service provision in the area, we have joined forces with Humbie, East & West Saltoun and Bolton; Gifford; and Ormiston Community Councils to find out what local people really want from their bus service.

Following the success of the recent meeting to discuss bus service provision in the area, we have joined forces with Humbie, East & West Saltoun and Bolton, Gifford and Ormiston Community Councils to find out what local people really want from their bus service.

Click here to take part in the communities bus survey

A copy of the survey will be dropping through your letter box within the next week or so but if you prefer to register your response online, the survey can be found by clicking here.

The survey results will ultimately be presented to East Lothian Council and the service providers to help build a more efficient and effective service for local residents.

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