Council launches public bus network survey
Scottish Borders Council says that following changes to travel habits following the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important that a “modern” bus network is put in place that “reflects changes in society, increases bus usage, provides opportunities for young people to stay in the region and helps support the behavioural change necessary to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045”.
Currently, the Borders is served by 42 bus routes, which have remained largely unchanged for many years and are run by multiple bus operators. Fixed route services are supplemented by a small number of Demand Responsive Transport services, including PINGO in Berwickshire.
The majority of services are subsidised by council funding.
Councillor Jenny Linehan, executive member for environment and transport, said: “It is clear that bus travel habits are not returning to what they were pre-Covid. The continued lack of patronage creates funding pressures for both commercial and subsidised services.
“Financially that cannot be sustained.
"It is equally important that an environmentally sustainable bus network is put in place. One that truly helps people to swap from using a private car to the bus for as many journeys as possible.
“We can only do that with the input of our local businesses and residents.
"I would urge all Borderers, whether you currently use bus services or not, to complete this survey and help us develop a local bus network that supports as many people as possible.”
Through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, work has been ongoing with employers and education providers to map workforce and student travel habits.
This, alongside existing bus usage data and the survey results, will help to identify opportunities to create better public transport solutions based on a robust understanding of where and when there is travel demand.
The survey can be completed online at www.scotborders.gov.uk/busnetworkreview2022 and is open until January 9, 2023.