Bus services to be saved?

Transport operator Lothian Buses has taken a significant step towards acquiring services which are to be axed by First Scotland East next month.

The Advertiser can confirm that Lothian Buses has submitted a number of timetable proposals to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

These include the introduction of a number 40, which would run from King’s Road in Portobello to Penicuik town centre (via Roslin, Loanhead, Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith and Whitecraig); and a number 39, which would run from Dalkeith to Hardengreen (taking in Eskbank and Woodburn).

The number 40 would partially replace First Scotland East’s 141/142/241 services, while the number 39 would partially replace the 92/92a service currently run by First. It is also proposed that the First Bus 86/86A service would be replaced by an extension of Lothian Buses’ number 33.

Should the applications prove successful, Lothian Buses intends to introduce a number of other changes to its existing services.

Ian Craig, managing director, of Lothian Buses, said: “If accepted, this will secure a substantial proportion of the public transport links currently offered by First in and around Midlothian. Discussions are continuing and we hope to publish full details of all changes in the near future.”

A council statement read: “We’re delighted the council has successfully negotiated with Lothian Buses to keep critical bus services running in Midlothian after the withdrawal of the First Bus group. We are also confident that further positive announcements will be forthcoming in the near future.”

In April, First Bus announced it planned to axe all but three of its local services and close its only bus depot in the county.