Councillors revise specs for bus route tendering

CHANGES to the service specification and guiding principles for local bus service contracts, due for re-tendering in advance of their start on August 12, have been approved by Scottish Borders Council.

Agreement was also given by the roads and infrastructure committee of SBC to revise the conditions of contract for the management of these contracts.

A council spokesman commented: “Progress has been made since 2009 on the review of transport services so that there are regular meetings with service clients,

“Routewise has been adopted as the management information system for passenger transport contracts, and better links have been made with the NHS and community transport organisations.

“The agreements made by the committee on February 14 conclude the root and branch review of bus services with local people and companies on the strategic direction for services and an analysis of travel needs and demands.”

The council says the review will guide the shape and form of the bus network following a procurement exercise for the new contracts.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, the executive member for roads and infrastructure said: “Some 80 per cent of the local bus services contracts supported by SBC have to be renewed this summer. A major consultation exercise with the public has led to recommendations on what bus services are needed for the future.

“The various options identified will be tendered from February 28 and a final decision will be taken on each individual preferred option at the meeting of the executive on May 21, when tender prices will be assessed against budget availability.”

The committee noted that it may be necessary to review services that run into Galashiels when the Borders Railway opens in 2014-15 and Network Rail has outlined a timetable with rail journey frequencies.