Bus passengers in Hawick are being cheered by the announcement of an extension to services in the town.
Perryman’s Buses has revealed plans to alter its service H1/H2 route to take in more areas of the town.
The news couldn’t be more timely after the shock announcement last week that First Scotland is withdrawing its entire fleet from the region.
The transport company cited as a reason a 35% fall in bus usage on its X95 Carlisle-to-Edinburgh route.
West Coast Motors, Berwick-based Perryman’s Buses’ parent company – is now in negotiations to take over First’s services from Saturday, March 25.
The Hawick News understands those talks are at an advanced stage, with all staff expected to transfer over to the Argyll-based company.
After extensive discussions with community groups, councillors and council officials, Perryman’s is now preparing to extend services locally, particularly the route in Burnfoot and to the new housing estate at Stonefield.
Once approved, an updated timetable should be introduced from Monday, May 22.
Claire Lark, operations manager at Perryman’s, said: “As a local bus company, we actively engage with the communities we serve to ensure we deliver a reliable bus service which meets the needs of our customers.
“Since launching the Hawick town services, we have received some fantastic feedback, mainly around driver friendliness and the reliability of the service.
“In relation to extending the route, this is something we said we would explore if there was demand and it didn’t impact on reliability.
“Due to high volumes of congestion in certain areas of the town, we had highlighted our reluctance to change some parts of the route.
“However, we have worked closely and constructively with local councillors who will be overseeing the installation of traffic management systems to ensure our vehicles can move easily around the town.
“We hope our customers make full use of the updated bus service and it encourages more people in Hawick to use the bus.”
Traffic management systems include introducing double-yellow lines in highly congested areas along the route.
Jan Pringle, manager at Burnfoot Community Futures, said: “This is such good news for the hub and the Burnfoot area. I’m delighted they’ve listened and have changed the route.
“We have lots of activity planned for the coming months, and this extension of the bus service will allow easier access to the facility and help us to reach more people and achieve our goals.”
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “I’m absolutely delighted Perryman’s Buses have listened to residents and will be extending its operations in Burnfoot and other parts of the town.
“It’s refreshing to have such open and honest dialogue.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson added: “I’ve been campaigning for the bus to be extended to several areas of the town, and I’m glad Perryman’s Buses has responded positively to the travel needs of local people.”