Opening hours to be cut at Galashiels transport hub

Galashiels transport interchange.
Galashiels transport interchange.

Galashiels transport interchange’s opening hours are to be cut by hard-up council bosses looking to save up to £40,000 a year.

The move has also been prompted by a series of alcohol-fuelled late-night disturbances at the Ladhope Vale bus station exposing its eight staff to both physical and verbal abuse.

As of next month, the interchange will be open for over three hours less a day than at present and will be shut by the time most of the town’s pubs close.

From Saturday, July 1, the building will operate from 5.45am to 11pm daily, instead of the current 4.30am to 1am opening times.

The only change for bus passengers outwith the new opening hours will be the use of stance eight, directly outside the interchange, to board services.

The new opening hours also take into account the low bus passenger numbers using the facility after 11pm and before 6am, with an average of just one and a half passengers boarding each of the five services that run outside the new opening times, according to a council spokesman.

The decision is also part of a review of services at the interchange with the potential to save the council £40,000 per year at a time when there are ongoing pressures on public funding, he added.

The changes will not lead to any permanent job losses, workers there have been reassured.

Train services outwith the new opening hours will be unaffected as a ticket machine is available on the railway platform.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, said: “Galashiels transport interchange is a well-used facility, with 3,000 people passing through every day.

“However, council figures show that since it opened in August 2015, it is rarely used by bus passengers after 11pm and before 6am.

“There has also been late-night anti-social behaviour, with staff suffering verbal and physical abuse which has resulted in court appearances for offenders.

“We are working hard to tackle this unacceptable problem, but closing at 11pm will certainly aid this issue.

“In the current financial climate, the council has to consider how it delivers its services differently.

“While this change will result in some inconvenience for a small number of passengers, it will result in better use of the council’s resources.

“Importantly, this decision will not change any bus or train services and will not see any permanent jobs lost.”