How do you persuade people in Lauder who commute to Edinburgh by car up the A68 to make the near six-mile journey south-west to Stow to use the new Borders Railway?
Donald Young thinks he has the answer – by offering those in the royal burgh a quick, cheap, reliable and flexible shared shuttle service to and from the village’s new station.
And this week, the former landscape gardener has backed his judgment by officially launching a new business – BorDoor2Door– to do just that.
Donald, who lives in Stow, has just purchased a new Ford Tourneo which can carry up to eight passengers.
“People will have to pre-book a seat on the minibus and I will pick them at their door in Lauder and drop them off at the station,” he explained.
“I’ll then collect them for their return journey and drop them back at their door.
“I see it as a win-win situation which will not only give me a return on my investment, but will bring more business to the railway and help make the Stow station, which villagers fought so hard for, a sustainable proposition.”
The idea for the business to operate at peak train times was planted last October.
“As a parent with a child at Stow primary, there was much talk at the school gate about the railway and how we all hoped it would be a success,” recalled Donald.
“We all agreed this would be greatly helped if we could get people in Lauder to give up their cars and come to Stow for the train.”
Facing another winter as a landscape gardener with some trepidation, Donald resolved to do some homework.
“I estimated the number of people travelling from or through Lauder and heading for the capital every day was in the high hundreds.
“I thought if I could get a few of them to take the train, which allows them Wi-Fi access and helps them arrive at work less stressed out, then I would be in business.”
He also estimated that, based on data obtained from the AA, using BorDoor2Door combined with the train would save the commuter using an average-sized car every day nearly £2,500 over the course of a year, not to mention any tax breaks they may receive for leaving the car at home.
“The average cost of my service from Lauder to Stow and vice-versa will be £5 per person per journey, although day returns and multi-journey tickets will be available, and I have a mobile card terminal on board to make payment easy,” said Donald.
Outwith peak travelling times, Donald’s minibus will be available to hire for group outings.
To book a journey or to get more information, contact Donald on 07486 626484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org