Our petition to extend the Lothian Buses 25 service to Balerno attracted 1,100 signatures, a massive number for this kind of campaign, which demonstrates the real depth of feeling about this issue in the community.
Tom Inglis met with Lothian to discuss the survey and petition results. The meeting was very useful, and Tom learnt a lot about the bus network's design and commercial pressures. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like extending the 25 route fits with Lothian's strategy of having high frequency services on the main corridors into town. They would prefer to maintain the frequency of the 44 instead by adding extra buses as required and removing some of the bus stops.
Disappointingly, they expect customers to travel to Gillespie Crossroads to change onto other services travelling to Edinburgh Park and South Gyle.
Pressure grows on Lothian
Lothian did say that they would consider extending their 63 service to Balerno if there were a suitable subsidy offered. Extending the 63 would enable a direct connection to Edinburgh Park and South Gyle, and a two bus connection to St. John’s, and is something that Balerno Community Council advocate for in their Community Plan, but it is likely to only run once per hour, and so would not provide much relief to the Lanark Road at peak times. They also said that their 33 service can’t be extended into Baberton because of the lack of a suitable layover site, and that their attempt to operate the 45 in evenings and weekends had not been sufficiently popular.
Widening the campaign
Undeterred by Lothian's response, Tom has also been in touch with E&M Horsburgh and First Buses to discuss whether or not they would re-route their services.
Horsburgh would consider changing the route of their 40 service to travel via Currie and Juniper Green, if there were a suitable subsidy offered. This would provide a direct or two bus connection to St. John’s and the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary.
First were very interested in the anonymised results of Tom's initial transport survey and petition, and are keen to find out if it would be commercially viable for them to run a new bus service from St. John’s Hospital via Livingston Centre to Balerno, Currie and beyond.
First have asked Tom to run a survey of local residents to help gather the information that they need in order to make their initial assessment.
You can fill out Tom's survey online at the following web address: http://bit.ly/2Xm0ztA and he will provide an anonymised version of the feedback to First, so that they can determine whether running a new bus service directly to our area would make good business sense.