Kelso bus stop blues spark community debate

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WHILE Kelso’s new one-way traffic system seems to be picking up plaudits the longer the trial continues, one aspect of the scheme is starting to cause frustration, writes Mark Entwistle.

Now that the bus stop is outside the public toilets in Woodmarket, passengers waiting to board buses are no longer using the bus shelter situated at the top of Woodmarket on the pavement outside the town’s branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Members of Kelso Community Council, which held its June meeting last week, heard that elderly people waiting to catch a bus are sheltering from the rain in the doorway of the Black Swan Hotel, as the bus shelter is now too far away and on the other side of the street.

Local councillor Tom Weatherston said a number of people had been asking him why the bus shelter had not been moved now buses no longer stopped there.

But council vice-chairman John Bassett was not keen on any suggestion to move the shelter at the moment.

“What would be the point of moving it now if, in a few months time when the one-way trial is over, it ends up having to be changed again?”

Provost Fiona Scott admitted that was a good point. “But it’s no fun standing waiting for a bus in the pouring rain,” she added.

Councillor Dean Weatherston raised the point that, while the shelter was no longer being used by bus passengers, it was still being used.

“It has become a place for various people to congregate on a Saturday night. And when the Sporty (a local nightclub) empties out, the shelter gets used as a public toilet – it’s absolutely stinking.”

Other traffic-related issues raised at the community council meeting, included one proposal to shift the taxi rank in the square to allow for the creation of a pedestriansed area where people could sit at tables and enjoy something to eat and drink – similar to the cafe culture found in Mediterranean holiday resorts.

Provost Scott explained that all these issues would be discussed when the steering committee next met in July.

And she added that, until the survey results were collated, it would be difficult to gauge the overall success of the new traffic system.