Reaction to propose route and timetable changes Lothian buses.

Below are that timetable and route changes proposed by Lothian buses to come into force on October 5th. There will of course be outraged protests from the areas that will lose a bus service, most of these areas appear to be in the more deprived areas of the city and it seems to be a great shame that those with the least alternatives to bus travel should have to bear the brunt of the cuts. Unusually I find myself in the position of almost trusting the management of Lothian buses, who have after all engineered a 40% rise in passenger numbers over the last few years and kept prices an affordable level. I have yet to hear of a scandal involving huge bonus payments to the management team for underachievement, on the contrary they have consistently won awards from their peers and accolades amongst the punters for a successful and popular service. It comes as a real shock in other towns when you are asked to pay three, four, five pounds, for a single bus journey (Bournemouth) and then you suddenly realise after a night on the town your only option is a taxi, which are rarer than hen’s teeth, never mind the expense.

So what should our reaction as users of the service be to these changes?

Firstly the environment which is forcing these changes on Lothian buses was not created by any decisions they were responsible for. The price of diesel has risen 42% in the last three months, the tram works were a political decision which has led to the longer journey times, confusion and frustration. Both these major contributing factors were totally outwith the control of Lothian buses.

So what should we do? If we want to keep the best bus service in the country and I would suggest probably the best transport management team, we should try to support them by continuing to use the buses, and indeed if at all possible use them more. These decisions are about revenue and of course the fact that these particular routes are Council subsidised. Lothian buses have simplified, expanded and improved the bus service in Edinburgh perhaps it’s time to show some solidarity with our bus company through these difficult times. Who knows a small rise in usage may tip the balance and save those routes scheduled for closure.

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