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  1. ITV Report

Scottish Borders bus routes facing axe

See which routes could be cut below. Credit: ITV Border

Eleven bus routes in the Scottish Borders could be cut by the company First Group.

In a statement released today, it says it's aiming to "focus resources" in other areas where it says "customer demand and satisfaction is growing".

Local bus operator First Scotland East, which is owned by First Group, is proposing to cease operations in East Lothian from 14 August 2016 and close its depots in North Berwick and Musselburgh.

If the cuts go ahead, this would have an effect on twelve routes in the Scottish Borders:

  • Galashiels 397 - Hawick to Galashiels College service - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 61 - Oxton to Galashiels - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 67 - St Boswells to Galashiels - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 68 - Howdenburn to Galashiels - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 73 - Galashiels to Bannerfield - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 75 - Hawick town services - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 76 - Hawick town services - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 77 - Hawick town services - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 8 - Melrose to Galashiels - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 9 - Melrose to Galashiels - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels 90A - Peebles town services - fully cancelled
  • Galashiels X95 - Edinburgh to Hawick/Carlisle - Revised to hourly service between Edinburgh and Galashiels on Monday to Friday, and Saturdays. No change to Sunday service

Other services in Stirling and Clackman, Falkirk and East Lothian would also be affected.

If the proposed cuts do go ahead, First Group will no longer operate tendered services and will talk with local authorities about the school transport it currently provides.

  • Why is First Group proposing to cut these services?

First Scotland East had been compelled to maintain many of these services following an investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission some 14 years ago.

The company was recently released from these commitments by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Following a review it's decided to put forward these proposed cuts, to "put the business on a sound footing for the future".

I’m disappointed that we’re proposing to withdraw from Musselburgh and North Berwick. We will today engage with the local authority on the future of bus services.

However, given there are other bus operators that operate in and around the area, I’m confident if we decide to go ahead with these proposals the majority of our customers won’t be left without a service.

– Paul McGowan, Managing Director of First Scotland East

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