Improvements agreed to series of local bus services

A number of bus services will be enhanced across the Scottish Borders as part of a review of the local network.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 7:27 am

Six services in Berwickshire, Cheviot and Eildon will be improved, with the new arrangement also delivering savings of £44,000 per year towards our Fit for 2024 transformation programme.

The changes come into force on January 18, 2021.

These changes are the first phase of a wider review of local services. Existing passenger data, along with engagement with communities and stakeholders through Local Area Partnerships, will aim to shape the future transport network across the Borders.

These changes are:

○ 64 Border Weaver service - now includes Melrose Gait, which means a significant developer contribution can be secured, as well as the inclusion of Borders General Hospital, St Boswells and Newtown St Boswells on the route

○ 902 Hume to Kelso service – previously a Demand Response Transport (DRT) service but will now operate two days per week to provide a more regular route for residents in Hume, Mellerstain and Smailholm providing an opportunity to increase passenger numbers

○ 20 Kelso to Jedburgh to Hawick service - a more consistent timetable

○ 80 Kelso town service - continuation of service by SBC after the operator handed the contract back

○ 85 Ednam to Kelso service – resumption of service which was previously withdrawn, providing links to Kelso from Stichill, Hume and Leitholm

○ 86 service – a new service between Newtown St Boswells and Kelso which links with the wider core bus network

The council is also planning to consider other minor changes which could benefit the network.

Fit for 2024 aims to ensure we are in the best shape to meet future challenges, take advantage of new opportunities and deliver the best outcomes for Borders communities.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, our Executive Member for Infrastructure, Travel and Transport, said: “This project is a perfect example of how Fit for 2024 programme works, providing an improved, more efficient service for passengers, operators and the council.

“It will enhance links between localities, maximise the potential to generate income through more passengers and enables us to qualify for bus service operators grant.

“All these factors will help our long-term aim of making our services more sustainable.”

Councillor Edgar also reassured the Borders public that local services are safe to use at this time, with operators providing enhanced cleaning of their vehicles alongside other safety measures such as the wearing of face coverings.

He added: “As with all business sectors, bus travel has been significantly impacted by Coronavirus, but operators are providing a safe, environmentally friendly mode of transport which I would encourage Borderers to use.”