Plans to remove the final bus service to Auchendinny have sparked outrage among locals, who have now set up a petition against the move.
From November 13, Lothian Buses plans to stop running the number 40 to the village due to passenger numbers being “too low” – just months after Auchendinny lost the number 15. Ann Steadman (79), of the Glencorse Association, has launched a petition against the plans.
She is angry that elderly people will have to walk half a mile to get the number 40 as it heads in and out of Penicuik.
She said: “The village will be completely cut off.
“A lot of people will be unable to walk up the road to the bus stop.
“It’s not just the elderly but people on benefits who can’t afford taxis.
“People feel very strongly – people who most need the buses are being deprived.’’
And she says that walking back at night is simply not an option for older people, adding: “The road is very dark and it’s not suitable, particularly for the elderly.” Midlothian Council will partly replace the bus by extending its ‘Ring and Go’ taxi service.
Ann is angry with Lothian Buses’ assumption that nobody uses the bus in Auchendinny.
She said: “I have counted six people waiting on the bus in the morning at one time. And Lothian Buses say only five people get on or off in 26 journeys. They must have chosen the quietist times of day. We don’t need the current half hourly buses but we do really need a bus at least once an hour going to Edinburgh.
“Roslin is very well served by Lothian Buses. I think the 37 or the 47 should carry on from there to Auchendinny. They only go there for the tourists to go to the chapel but they don’t pay community charges – they should be serving the local people.
“There were also 150 houses built in the village this year, with another 350 planned for the top of the village, so there will be more need for a bus service.”
Midlothian Council will partly replace the service 40 in Auchendinny by extending its ‘Ring and Go’ taxi service to seven days a week. The service takes passengers along the A701 corridor and into Penicuik town centre.
Councillor Derek Rosie (SNP) said: “It will be welcome news to those who have previously relied on the service 40 and I am pleased that Midlothian Council has been able to support this alternative transport link.”
Nigel Serafini, Lothian Buses, commercial director, said: “We appreciate that some customers will be disappointed that Lothian Buses will no longer serve Auchendinny but unfortunately the number of people making use of the service was too low to justify the operating costs associated with continuing this section of route.
“The changes will help to ensure that routes are more reliable and commercially viable, which is important for the many customers who depend on these cross-country links every day.”
To sign the petition to save the Auchendinny bus service, click here.