SELKIRK has a new town bus service, covering the previously unserved Ladylands area to the south.
However, the new 15-seater vehicle, operated by Scottish Borders Council, is only runing twice a day on Wednesdays.
It leaves Market Place at 10.50am and 11.50am and head up The Loan before returning to the town centre via Hillside Terrace and Tower Street. There will be a flat rate fare of £1.30.
The service (979) is an unexpected bonus from SBC’s recent decision to withdraw the unprofitable service 64 from Kelso to Gattonside, Maxton, St Boswells, Bowden and Melrose, which was operated by Munro of Jedburgh. The council has decided to step into the breach with the so-called Eildon Explorer vehicle – and the villages of Lilliesleaf and Midlem, which have no public transport service, are also set to benefit.
The single vehicle, which has a wheelchair lift and distinctive yellow livery, will run two limited weekday services: from Newtown to Galashiels, via Bowden, Lilliesleaf, Midlem (on request), Melrose and Gattonside (service 963); and from Rutherford to Gattonside via Maxton, Newtown, Bowden and Melrose (service 964).
But on Wednesdays only, the bus will be used for a morning shopping service from Newtown to Hawick, via Bowden, Lillisleaf, Midlem and Selkirk (10.10am), returning in the afternoon. And it is during the downtime that the new town service in Selkirk will operate.
“This service has been a long-standing request of residents and we have been able to include it in our revised package of bus services around the Eildons,” said John Dellow of SBC’s passenger transport section.
“It will be ideal for residents from this populous part of Selkirk to plan shopping trips to the town without having to walk or take their cars,” he added.
Timetable leaflets for the Eildon Explorer services are now available.
“This is a different way of providing bus services for residents of some our villages where there are few regular bus passengers,” said Councillor Jim Fullarton, SBC’s executive member for transport.
“We have tried to tailor the journeys to meet their needs ... but if residents feel there are any gaps in the level of service they should contact our passenger transport section who will be closely monitoring the operation.”
Of the new town service, which is now up and running, Selkirkshire councillor Kenneth Gunn said: “It’s a first step towards better local transport. I hope it will grow, but the message is clear: this is a test run so use it or lose it.”