First Bus withdraws from Midlothian

Wednesday March 8th 2017

x95 Bus

Local MSP Christine Grahame is seeking urgent meeting with Colin Craig, MD of Craigs of Campbelltown Ltd., after it was announced that First Scotland East is withdrawing entirely from the Scottish Borders and Midlothian and has in principle agreement with Craigs of Campbelltown that it will take over the services.

First announced the news on Wednesday morning, citing a 35% reduction in passenger journeys on the Carlisle-Edinburgh via Galashiels X95 service as the reason behind their decision. It is expected that a new operator – Craig of Campbelltown Ltd, who own Perryman’s – will take over all First’s routes and timetables on 25 March and will operate under a “Borders Buses Ltd” livery.

Commenting on the announcement, Ms Grahame said:

“This announcement was a surprise to me though I have been aware for some time that the X95 was subsidising other less profitable First routes in the Borders.

“The absolute priority must be maintaining continuity of service for all the communities First currently serves and the 113 local jobs it provides. I have had an early meeting with Paul McGowan – MD of First Scotland East – and he has assured me that arrangements have been made with bus operator Craig of Campbelltown Ltd to take over the routes.

“First employ 113 staff across the Borders and Midlothian and TUPE applies, meaning all First employees will keep their jobs, pay and conditions upon the transfer. The transfer of the routes to the new operator should be finalised by 25 March.

“There is then a ten week period, up until 3 June, where no changes to the routes or timetables are permitted. At the start of that ten weeks the new operator must launch a four week consultation with passengers. No route changes can happen until a further six weeks have passed.

“I will be monitoring this situation very carefully indeed as it develops. I am seeking an early meeting with Colin Craig, who will be in charge of the new service which I understand may be liveried as Borders Buses Ltd, and will be stressing to him the importance of our local bus routes and the employment it provides”

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