Commenting on the news that First Scotland are to withdraw its entire fleet from the Scottish Borders later this month, local MSP John Lamont said: “This is hugely concerning news, which puts the whole transport system in the Borders at risk.
“The impact on local jobs and the existing bus routes remain unclear. While I understand there will be no immediate changes, it will be open to the new operator to reduce services after a relatively short time. This would be a huge blow to many people who rely on bus routes. Residents in the Borders have already been forced to stay at home or use their cars by an ever shrinking bus service and I fear the latest announcement will just further reduce passenger numbers.
“Clearly the Borders Railway has had an impact on the viability of bus services in the area, so I would expect the Council to look closely at the effect of the new line on bus routes. We need to be looking at better integrating the transport network in the Borders so that the whole area benefits from the railway.
“Instead of cutting lifeline services, the new operator and the Council need to work together to ensure we have a properly integrated and sustainable transport system in the Borders. The reduction in funding from the SNP led Council for bus services has clearly made it financially difficult for First Group to carry on.”