Extensive shake-up of bus services across the region could be just the ticket

Pingo bus service has proved popular.Pingo bus service has proved popular.
Pingo bus service has proved popular.
Councillors are being asked to endorse bus changes.

When members of the full council meet on Thursday, January 23, they will be recommended to endorse a Bus Network review.

The review proposes a raft of changes to bus routes in a bid to provide better services for commuters and businesses across the area.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A report, from John Curry, SBC’s director of Infrastructure and Environment, says: “Scottish Borders Council commissioned a full bus network review in 2022, with the support of the City Deal Workforce Mobility Project.

“It sought to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing commercial and supported bus services, and make recommendations, where appropriate, that could improve the network in relation to better meeting potential outcomes and/or improving service efficiency.

“The review found that overall, the majority of the network operates well and provides sufficient coverage but there are opportunities to increase the frequency of inter-town services and town services, while looking at improving the operational durations and the timing of services to key employment, education and healthcare sites.

“The review highlighted the opportunity for more demand responsive services to be introduced across the Scottish Borders to link remote rural communities into key towns.”

The proposed changes:

BERWICKSHIRE AREA:

Main towns: Duns, Coldstream & Eyemouth

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 60 – Forms part of new 15-minute frequency betweenGalashiels and Borders General Hospital. Divert via Eyemouth and Foulden on alternating hours increasing the frequency of the service between Duns and Berwick to hourly.

• Service 67 – Forms part of new 15 minute frequency between Galashielsand BGH. Explore opportunities for the operator to operate commerciallybetween Kelso and Galashiels.

• Service 85 – Consider a revised Kelso town services, which could extendto Leitholm and Greenlaw. Potential also to introduce a taxi bus service.

• PINGO – The service commenced in May 2022 with further funding committed through to March 2024. The service and app have undergone continual development over the past 18 months in partnership with the operator and the app developer and based on feedback from service users.

CHEVIOT AREA:

Main towns: Jedburgh, Kelso & St Boswells

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 20 – Retain and incorporate Service 21. Operator to focus on links between Hawick, Jedburgh and Howdenburn providing connections to the Jed Campus.

• Service 21 – Incorporate into service 20.

• Service 51 – Service to form part of a 15-minute frequency between Galashiels and BGH also serving Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

• Service 68 – Service to form part of a 15-minute frequency between Galashiels and BGH. Explore commercial opportunities with the operator.

• Services 80/81/81A – Extend routes to include areas served by 983 service (Springwood & Sprouston) and extend operations until 18:30.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 85 – Replaced by PINGO option for northern part of route, and/or by new “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focussed on Kelso, operating 2 days/week.

• Service 86 – Replace, acts as a placing journey for Kelso services.

• Service 131 – Retain.

• Service 902 – Replaced by PINGO option for northern part of route, and/or by new “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focussed on Kelso, operating 2 days/week.

• Service 910 – Replaced by extended 80, 81 or 81A service, and/or revised town service.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• New Service – New DRT service between Hawick, Jedburgh, Selkirk and St Boswells, all villages within an area bounded by A68, A698, A699 and A7 and Borders General Hospital.

• New Service – DRT many-to-few (lollipop) Taxi bus serving Jedburgh.

EILDON AREA:

Main towns: Galashiels, Melrose & Selkirk

• Core Network Services 51, 60, 67 and 68 – Retain and create a 15-minute frequency into the BGH serving Langlee and Tweedbank and improving connections to Lauder, Oxton and the Royal Infirmary.

• Service 54 – Incorporate Netherdale into the service and consider an hourly evening service through to 22:30.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 70 – Discuss with operator potential to Incorporate Melrose Gait and replace service 74.

• Service 73 – Discuss with operator utilising the 73 as a Selkirk town service connecting with the X95.

• Service 74 – Replace with service 70 for Melrose Gait, Netherdale to be included in the new 54 service.

• Service 86 – Replace, acts a placing journey for Kelso services.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 911 – Replace with new “lollipop” DRT / Taxi bus centred onSelkirk .

Service 912 – Ettrick – Selkirk – Galashiels DRT (SBC) – Replace with new “lollipop” DRT / Taxi bus centred on Selkirk.

• Service 964 – Retain.

• Service X62 – Commercial Service.

• Service X95 – Commercial Service.

TEVIOT AND LIDDESDALE AREA:

Main towns: Hawick & Newcastleton

• Service 20 – Retain and incorporate Service 21. Operator to focus on links between Hawick, Jedburgh and Howdenburn.

• Hawick Town Services – Replace existing 46, 47, 48 & 49 services with a revision of H1 and H2 routes to serve key points on 46 – 49 routes. Some stops are already served by existing H1/H2, 20 and other services.

• Service 127/127a – No changes proposed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 128 – Replaced by new “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focused on Hawick.

• Service 910 – Replace 910 service with new “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focused on Hawick, operating 5 days/week.

• Service 911 – New “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focussed on Selkirk,operating 3 days/week.

• Service 912 – New “lollipop” DRT/Taxibus service focussed on Selkirk operating 3 days/week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Hawick Town Service – Extend route to replace 46 – 49 and extendservices until beyond 18:30.

• Hawick Town Service Sundays – No changes proposed.

• X95 – Commercial Service, No Change Proposed although consideration to be given to improved connections to the BGH.

• New DRT Service – DRT many-to-many serving Hawick / Jedburgh / Selkirk / St Boswells, College campus, Bowhill House, Dryburgh Abbey and Borders General Hospital.

TWEEDDALE AREA:

Main towns: Peebles

• Service 90a/90b – Retain, extending services into the early evening, consider a 30 minute frequency beyond 18:30.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Service 91 – Improving the connections between the 91 and Stuarts 191 service and Borders Buses X62. Consider working with Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) and Stuarts coaches to extend the 191 through to Peebles.

• Service 93 – Consider a loop service serving Peebles, Biggar and West Linton.

• Service 101 – No changes proposed.

• Service X62 – Commercial Service, No changes proposed