Moves afoot to keep ‘lifeline’ bus service on the road

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Scottish Borders Council is to consider new options to ensure the continuation of the 120 bus service that currently links Kelso, Jedburgh and Hawick.

A council spokesperson said: “The current contract with First to provide Service 120 between Hawick, Jedburgh and Kelso ends on Saturday, August 15. Timetable options for Service 120 are currently being considered. Any new contract would commence on Monday, August 17.

“In December, First gave notice of their intention to withdraw their Kelso-Jedburgh -Hawick service as of Monday, January 12, 2015. Scottish Borders Council moved quickly to ensure the continuation of the service until a new contractor could be found, reaching an agreement with First for the service to continue on a subsidised basis.”

There are not yet any specifics as to what the new contract might entail.

There has been much anger among residents of the towns along the route in response to the possibility that the service might stop. The route is seen as essential to ensure that pupils can get to school without having to take huge detours that could add an hour or more to their journey.

Hawick, Denholm and Burnfoot community councils are planning to petition the local authority to keep the route open.

Borders MSP John Lamont said: “While the service may not be the most heavily used, it is vital for many residents in the Borders, particularly the elderly and those travelling to work. For those residents who don’t have a car, this service really is a lifeline.

“A lot of people have spoken to me about the importance of this service. It is great to see the community councils working together to show the extent to which local residents want this service maintained.”