South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his anger after cuts from Conservative controlled Scottish Borders Council has led to a reduction in the bus service between Dumfries and Edinburgh.
In February this year Scottish Borders Council voted to cut £200,000 from public transport. As a result, Scottish Borders reduced their contribution to the 101/102 bus service by 74%.
The cost of the service is currently £390,984 per year split between SWESTRANs (£113,386 Dumfries and Galloway Council funding), Strathclyde Passenger Transport (£142,318), Scottish Borders Council (£135,280) and Midlothian Council who fund the Edinburgh Bus Station Departure charges.
As a result of a cut of £100,000 from the service by Conservative controlled Scottish Borders Council the number of bus services between Edinburgh and Dumfries will now be reduced from 6 to 4 each way from August, despite the fact that the services currently stop in Roberston, West Linton and Carlops within the Borders.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “This is a deeply disappointing decision which will see the number of bus services running between Dumfries and Edinburgh reduce to four on weekdays and Saturday. It is extremely frustrating that this cut could have been avoided if Scottish Borders Council had a more flexible approach to funding bus services. A smaller saving could have been made by the Council but the same number of services could have been retained.
“As a result of the timetable and contract changes Scottish Border Council have abandoned the cross council working, which until now has helped to secure bus services. This is a really short sighted decision by the Tory administration on the council. If you reduce services, then it simply becomes less attractive to passengers and that will put the whole service at risk.”
“Everyone knows that councils are having to make cuts due to the austerity being imposed by both the UK and Scottish Governments but sadly Scottish Borders are choosing to inflict their cuts on vulnerable people. It is those in the remotest areas, the elderly, those on low incomes and young people who rely on buses and often have no access to a car, so they will feel this cut most. I hope that the Conservative run administration on Scottish Borders will reconsider their pro austerity anti bus passenger policy in the future before they make more cuts on the vulnerable.”