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Funding call to reverse bus cuts

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By Christie Breen
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Funding call to reverse bus cuts

A MEETING has taken place to discuss forthcoming cuts to the 101 and 102 bus services from Dumfries to Edinburgh.

And all those attending yesterday’s event were asked if new sources of funding can be found to keep the routes going.

The Swestrans transport group chairman Cllr John Campbell said they are “proactively trying to find solutions”.

He said: “Currently, SWestrans, SPT and Scottish Borders Council fund the 101/102 service. Following a procurement exercise, the proposed 86 per cent increase in costs to continue the service as per the current timetable from August are unacceptable and far outweigh the available funding. This means that the current service would end on 14 August when the contract ends.

“SWestrans is committed to doing all we can to find a solution so that this doesn’t happen and remains fully committed to providing the current funding of some £105k each year for this service. We continue to work with current funding partners and possible new partners Midlothian and City of Edinburgh councils to see if additional sources of funding can be identified.”

Meanwhile, an online petition to save the service has now gathered over 6300 signatures from concerned residents along both the routes.

They have also been lobbying politicians and have the backing of Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell, who said: “Good public transport has never been more important and provides a lifeline for many of my constituents.

“Local authorities face a significant real terms budget reduction from SNP Ministers in Holyrood, leaving a number of local and longer distance services at risk of being lost or curtailed.”

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth believes it highlights the need for local councils to run their own bus services.

He said: “We urgently need a rethink in how services are provided and in my view that means the council running services direct. They now have the powers, but sadly the Scottish Government won’t give them the resources. Unless that changes we will soon see a tsunami of bus service cuts.”

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