Council hops on board village bus petition

Auchendinny residents were up in arms when the removal of the village's last bus service was announced in October.

Auchendinny residents were up in arms when the removal of the village's last bus service was announced in October.

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Midlothian Council’s petitions committee will pass a petition to Lothian Buses from villagers asking for the reinstatement of their last bus service.

The petition relates to Lothian Buses’ number 40 service, which was withdrawn from Auchendinny in November, leaving the village without a bus service. Local residents had previously told the Advertiser about the importance of retaining a bus service for families, pensioners and commuters working in Edinburgh.

After listening to locals concerns at Midlothian House, the council’s petition committee recommended that Lothian Buses be asked to consider the social inclusion aspect for the Auchendinny community affected by the withdrawal of this service. The council’s head of commercial operations had also contacted First Bus to see if there was any scope for it to provide a service.

Petition author Ann Steadman told the Advertiser of her delight. She said: “I was amazed. I’m glad to say your article most of put the frighteners up them.

“The councillors encouraged us.”

It was was also stressed that no one got off the number 40 bus in Roslin so it could be cut off the route.

“There hasn’t been a bus through our village since the number 40 was stopped in November,” said Ann. “This is the first time ever there has been no bus in the village.”

Ann has not been impressed with the council’s Ring and Go service, which was supposed to ease the burden of the bus loss by taking locals to other bus routes. She said: “Nobody has ever managed to get a return journey. So people are paying twice.”

Ann reiterated her belief that the bus was popular in Auchendinny and that demand would increase with 360 houses to be built there, adding: “It would cost £104,000 to subsidise the bus to come back through the village. That would be for two an hour, but we don’t need that. One an hour or even one a day would be better than nothing.”