Fury at new bus timetable plans

Councillor Derek Milligan
Councillor Derek Milligan

Councillor Derek Milligan has revealed his fury at plans to divert two buses an hour which used to go to Bonnyrigg to new houses in Dalkeith.

The Midlothian Labour group leader at the council was outraged last October when Lothian Buses announced it was to stop two of the four number 49 buses an hour at Sheriffhall Park and Ride and return to Edinburgh instead of carrying on to Bonnyrigg, Poltonhall and Rosewell.

Now it has been revealed that from April 10 those two buses will now head to Dalkeith Campus during daytime Monday to Friday instead of back to Edinburgh.

Councillor Milligan is happy that Wester Cowden and Dalkeith Heights will now be served by a bus from Edinburgh, but not when it affects existing services in Midlothian. He said: “I have said all along. There should be a reasonable bus service for these folk. But the problem is that it scuppers any chance of Bonnyrigg getting four buses an hour again.

“It’s pitiful. It’s a half hearted attempt for these residents in Dalkeith. But if they do increase the service, it’s going to be to the detriment of people in Rosewell, Bonnyrigg and Poltonhall. It’s frequently running late or off time as it is. And if you miss one you can wait up to an hour.

“I’m sorry but that’s not a reasonable bus service. If you are wanting folk to get out of their cars you are not going to do it with a half hourly service.

“When I get on that bus I quite frequently see young mums with buggies being turned away as there is already somebody with buggy on.

“And having to watch elderly people forced to go upstairs when there is no seats downstairs is just wrong.

Councillor Milligan also questioned the council’s decision to support a tourist bus.

He said: “At a time when we are spending £69,000 on a tourist bus it doesn’t seem that the administration are prepared to consider spending money on local buses.

“Apart from Newbattle College, all of the attractions the bus serves are already serviced by a lot more frequent bus. And, why don’t the tourist attractions pay for these buses? Surely the Duke of Buccleuch can afford to put on a bus service for the park.”

A spokesperson for Lothian Buses said: “We recognise that some residents in Bonnyrigg and Rosewell will be disappointed that we are not reintroducing services that were removed last year due to passenger demand. However, the changes have allowed us to trial extended services for the residents of the Dalkeith Heights/Wester Cowden estate which we hope will be welcomed. As with all services we will keep levels of interest under review.”