Letters: Reforming free travel for old could subsidise buses

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The end of many First bus services in East and Midlothian (News, April 20) highlights the failure of the “pure capitalist” method of running buses, which First tried and failed.

Running uncomfortable, unreliable old buses at very high fares might have made short- term profits, but ultimately failed due to competition, or the passengers deserting buses in large enough numbers to kill the profits.

But with what do we replace First services? A fast solution would be to extend Lothian Buses on to some of the withdrawn routes. East and Midlothian are already small shareholders in Lothian Buses, they could increase their holdings, and there are no financial shareholders to satisfy.

But what of the services beyond realistic reach of Lothian Buses? Bus Service Operators Grant should be reformed, so that councils would only award it if services meet minimum standards of quality, and keep fares within a maximum rate. If some services then become unprofitable, then councils would invite tenders to run them with subsidy.

And where would this extra subsidy come from? Reform of the costly free concession scheme. It is no use to holders of these passes if the services running are going to disappear due to inadequate recompense.

Far better to restrict new holders to the new pension age, limit use of all passes to a more local area, and make sure fares for everyone else are not increased by it.

Arthur Homan-Elsy, Deanburn Road, Linlithgow

Texters are not inviting crime

THE warning given by Chief Superintendent Imery advising citizens they are vulnerable to criminals while using portable electronic devices in public (News, April 21) appalls me.

This is an example of victim blame culture that, taken to its logical conclusion, attaches blame to victims of rape for the way they dress or the amount they drink.

As a victim of assault and robbery who received excellent service from the police, I want to state to her very clearly that if I happen to text in public I am not asking to be mugged.

The authorities are clearly failing to deal with this sort of crime if Edinburgh citizens should fear such simple social activities.

Aleksandar Lukic, James Craig Walk, Edinburgh

Fans don’t count with the SFA

WELCOME to fantasy land anyone who thought that the all-Edinburgh cup final would ever be at Murrayfield. The SFA would never allow that to happen.

As a lifetime supporter of Scottish football and a member of the travel club (tartan army), I have known for a long time that the real supporters come last.

The way the SFA treat us concerning away game ticket allocation, ticket collection and being stuck behind the goals ... we are an afterthought to be put up with.

How many will be in the “official party” for our match with the USA on May 26?

As to a switch to Murrayfield, common sense, benefit to fans, less travel ... dream on.

Ricky Lawrie, Woodburn Avenue, Dalkeith

SNP would not waste oil wealth

MOST adults are more intelligent than Dave Cochrane (Letters, April 20), as they know that Scotland’s oil revenues are used for several purposes.

According to a Commons answer in November the industry contributes “25 per cent of all the corporation tax received by the (UK) Exchequer and the production of indigenous oil and gas improved the (UK) balance of payments by £35 billion”.

With one trillion pounds of oil revenues to come over the next 30 to 40 years, an SNP government would not squander this bounty on illegal wars, nuclear weapons or outrageous PFI hospital contracts.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh