LETTERS: Bus route changes reflect current passenger use

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Lothian Buses is an award-winning bus operator. Independent surveys indicate that our customer satisfaction rates are among the highest in the UK. In regard to value for money we are rated No.1.

We are required by law to operate commercially and we do so successfully. In 2014 we carried a record number of passengers and returned our highest ever dividend to our local authority shareholders.

We are proud of our achievements but not complacent. Our committed staff continuously look for ways to improve our services.

Our forthcoming service change to route 49 from Midlothian to the ERI is described as a service being slashed (News, September 10). The context and reality is somewhat different.

Over recent years services to our customers in Midlothian has been a pattern of continuous growth. Service 49 has benefited from this approach.

Twice yearly we undertake a thorough review of all of our routes across our whole network of 70-plus services. Our last major review of Service 49 occurred in October 2010 when we increased the frequency of the route to every 15 minutes. This was largely a result of increased passenger demand on the section from the ERI into the city centre and out to Portobello. Nevertheless we increased this frequency across the whole of the route including the section from ERI out to Dalkeith, Bonnyrigg and Rosewell.

Our hope was that this increased frequency might encourage additional journeys and enable us to make this increased frequency of service a permanent feature. Unfortunately this has not happened and thus the section of route 49 from Rosewell to the ERI will revert to a 30-minute frequency midweek with a 20-minute frequency during daytime Saturdays following our next service change in October.

I should also point out that Rosewell will continue to be served by the excellent limited stop service X31 which provides a frequent fast service into Edinburgh during peak periods Monday to Friday.

I trust the above explanation will reassure our loyal customers in Midlothian and those served by route 49 in particular of Lothian Buses’ continuing commitment to their area.

Jim McFarlane, chairman and general manager, Lothian Buses Ltd, Annandale Street, Edinburgh

Jeremy faces battle on many political fronts

Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn on winning the UK Labour leadership contest. Now that Labour’s had its revolution, can the party unite around Corbyn’s progressive policies?

I hope so, but given that 93 per cent of Labour MPs did not support Corbyn and 40 per cent of Labour members supported his Blairite rivals, it won’t be easy purging Labour of its militant Blairite tendency.

Needless to say, the Tories, the Liberals and the establishment media are predicting all kinds of gloom and doom if Labour wins the next general election. Nicola Sturgeon has even pointed out, although this could be wishful thinking, that Scotland’s appetite for independence may grow if Labour remains divided.

Without a doubt, a united Labour Party would hinder independence, but nevertheless, it would be wrong for socialists who support independence not to support Corbyn’s socialist agenda which is significantly to the left of that of the SNP.

Jack Fraser , Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Corbyn victory brings independence closer

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has just brought the prospect of Scottish independence that little bit closer.

It will, of course, be great to see him work with the SNP and other like-minded parties in a progressive alliance against Tory austerity and to hopefully join in voting against the £100 billion renewal of Trident.

But he leads a bitterly divided Labour Party at a time when what is vitally needed is strong opposition to the Tories.

Elections are won from the centre-ground and unless there is some dramatic transformation Labour under Corbyn is simply unelectable.

We need to wake up to the fact that we either take decisions in our own hands through independence or face the prospect of years of deeply damaging Tory rule.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Risk assessment is needed for refugees

There is a remarkable contrast between how the UK and other northern European countries run our societies and how we run our immigration policies.

No business large or small hires temporary staff with the degree of recklessness that Germany, Sweden and Britain are accepting third world migrants, who manage to reach our borders. The very first principle of recruitment is: ‘Don’t hire liabilities.’

Young unaccompanied adult males from misogynistic, homophobic, anti-semitic cultures tick several boxes in any rational risk assessment. That the majority of the refugees and other migrants at Calais fit this profile should set off alarm bells in both Britain and France. All the more so given that they are willing to repeatedly break the law to get to the UK.

Experience teaches us that Western European countries all too often fail to integrate and instill our culture in to migrants. The banlieues of France and the young men from all over Europe who have gone to fight for Isis confirm this.

We should apply a prudent degree of risk assessment to all these migrants and bar all those who fail the assessment.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh