Call for co-ordination of train and bus timetables

Buses are said to be leaving Berwick station minutes before trains arrive.
Buses are said to be leaving Berwick station minutes before trains arrive.

Public transport links in Berwickshire are “beyond a joke” according to an east Berwickshire councillor.

The last bus from Berwick Railway Station into Berwickshire leaves two minutes before the Edinburgh train is due and Councillor Joan Campbell remains to be convinced that the situation will be any better if and when Reston station is re-opened.

Councillor Campbell raised her concerns during a discussion of the council’s economic development group meeting about the importance of ensuring integrated public transport with the trains when the Borders Railway opens.

During that discussion mention was made of the need for good links from Tweedbank into the eastern Borders so that some of the hospitality businesses in that area could benefit from the new rail link.

Councillor Campbell said: “The connectivity from eastern Berwickshire to the trains in Berwick is beyond a joke.

“I have no problem with concentrating on Galashiels, but not to the detriment of eastern Berwickshire.”

Lessons would be learned from integrating transport networks when the stations on the Borders railway line open assured Bryan McGrath, head of economic development at SBC, adding that he was confident that these lessons would help when it came to doing the same in Berwickshire should Reston station be re-opened.

However, Councillor Campbell responded that this was several years away, and that in the meantime most Berwickshire residents would continue to use Berwick railway station.

Coldstream resident Graham Bell, chairman of the Scottish Borders branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, told the meeting that the last bus from Berwick station into Berwickshire leaves two minutes before the train gets in.

“Councillor Campbell pointed out the lack of joined up thinking between the timetables and Berwick Station.

“My experience, and the experience of people I speak to is that Perryman’s buses are running a good service but it would be even better if their timetable could link up to train times.

“I think it’s a possibility that businesses in the eastern Borders could benefit from the opening of the Borders railway and one of the ideas was to put on a mini bus service that would get visitors from Tweedbank to B&Bs in the Borders not currently served by a regular bus service.”

A draft timetable is being drawn up, the hope being that public transport operators will see the wisdom of joined up thinking and that bus times will marry up with train arrival and departure times.