More concerns raised about cuts to bus services

Users of the Border Weaver bus, route 964, have expressed dismay at recent proposals to cut the service down.

The bus previously called at Newtown St Boswells, Bowden, Melrose. Darnick, Gattonside, Tweedbank and Galashiels. The service ran four times a day in both directions.

Scottish Borders Council has proposed operating the Border Weaver on a reduced timetable from the 6th April 2020. It would also no longer serve Gattonside.

Borders MP, John Lamont, recently met with a group of locals at his surgery who were concerned about the changes and the benefit of the current timetable for vulnerable users and those who use it get to work.

The local authority is currently consulting on the changes to the timetable for this as well as withdrawing some other routes such as the 66 from Kelso to Earlston and 710 from Kelso to Coldstream.

The consultation is part of a review into bus services by the council, which started in 2019. Those who wish to provide their views on the affected routes are asked to contact by Thursday 13 February 2020.

Commenting John Lamont MP said: “I have been struck by the number of people who have contacted me about these proposed changes to local bus services. There is a strong view that the Border Weaver service should not be cut by the service users but there are similar concerns about other services that are being reviewed.

“It is clear from the conversations that I have had with those who use this bus service, that disabled and elderly people will be hit hard if these changes go ahead.

“I have written to Scottish Borders Council to relay these concerns and I would urge others to do so too. I know that routes like the Border Weaver are expensive to run and do not always get the number of users they need to make them commercially viable. But these services are often lifelines for the people who use them.

“I know that Scottish Borders Council has been wrestling with budget pressures after years of underfunding by the Scottish Government in Edinburgh. That needs to change. The Scottish Government needs to give our local council the funding that it needs to protect these vital local services.”