Lifeline for stranded rural bus commuters

Dr Janet Moxley next to bus stop on Biggar High Street
Dr Janet Moxley next to bus stop on Biggar High Street

With the controversial changes in the 101/102 Dumfries – Edinburgh bus service reducing journeys to and from the Upperward, Clydesdale East councillor Ian McAllan has welcomed the introduction of an alternative provision to “help fill the gap.”

Speaking in response to the announcement, he said:“I am very concerned at the reduction in service, particularly for the communities in and around Abington and Crawford – this bus route really is an economic, as well as a social lifeline for this communities. I have received many calls from many residents about it.

“As a result I have worked hard with various agencies, particularly SPT, to seek out workable options.

“So I am pleased arrangements have been made with the Rural Development Trust (RDT) to provide Monday – Friday journeys at 0730 from Crawford / Abington and from Biggar at 1645.

“It is proposed this service will operate on a demand-responsive basis which means the journeys will only operate if required.

“It will help to maintain services needed for people travelling to work in the area during commuting hours. Notwithstanding, I will continue to pursue strategic public transport solutions which will fully meet the needs of the communities in my ward.”

He added that any passenger who might want to travel has to call 0345 123 5047 the day before (or on Fridays for a Monday). The bus will pick up at the usual bus stops.

Calls for the impact of the changes to be minimised have already come from Biggar-based public tramnsport campaigner Janet Moxley and regional MSP Claudia Beamish.

The MSP has called on South Lanarkshire Council and SPT “to bring heads together” to find a long-term solution to the problems caused by the service changes.

She has suggested that a re-route of the 30/30A SPT route from Wanlockhead to Lanark, which would see it go through Biggar at rush hour times, might be sensible.

She commented: “I have written to both SPT and the Council to get their views on my suggestion.

“I would like to work with SPT and South Lanarkshire Council with a joint aim of finding a solution for those affected.

She added that villages along the route “are especially vulnerable and not having a sensible link to Biggar is just not feasible.

“I hope to hear back from SPT and the Council soon.”