First failing to pull out all the stops

Yet again we have had severe weather disruption throughout the whole of Scotland.

Scottish Borders council employees, particularly those driving snowploughs, have made valiant efforts to keep roads open as far as possible, as have the crews in the neighbouring areas.

Within the Lothians, First Bus continued to try and provide some sort of service in chaotic conditions no better than those in the Borders. It has provided a lifeline to ensure that people could travel to work and that businesses could continue.

This is in marked contrast to First Bus in the Borders which appears to cancel services to and from Edinburgh at the drop of a hat.According to their website, the X95 service (Galashiels-Edinburgh) on December 4 was back to normal after almost a week of disruption. Before starting my journey that day I took the additional precaution of checking up on the situation at Galashiels bus station and was advised the service was running as scheduled.

It now appears that, despite improving road conditions during the day, it was decided to terminate the service earlier than scheduled with the result that I was left stranded in Newtongrange at midnight on a very cold night.

I have been advised since that the early termination was because of “adverse weather conditions” and therefore no compensation of any sort was payable. December 4 was actually a day of improving conditions as evidenced by the normal service being provided. It did not deteriorate overnight. I should know because I travel on the A7 every day.

Meanwhile, on the following Tuesday yet more evidence of lack of effort by First Bus when the X95 service to Edinburgh was cancelled again. Yet their colleagues in the Lothians put them to shame by providing a bus service in similar conditions to here, although with some delays.

Munro’s continue to operate as First Bus remains idle.

What is happening at Galashiels? Are they taking advantage of their near monopoly of bus services in this area with the attitude that the customers will return because there is no choice?

Luckily, I do have a choice, but I do feel sorry for those individuals forced to miss work or become stranded due to a lack of effort by First Bus.

I cannot wait for the return of the train – hopefully not run by First Bus.

R. Gerstenberger

Galashiels Road