THEY are two of Edinburgh’s success stories.
One a publicly-owned bus company which was the pride of Britain for its low-cost fares and efficient service. The other a rapidly expanding airport which had risen to become Scotland’s busiest, with exciting development plans in the pipeline.
Today, both Edinburgh Airport and Lothian Buses find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. The “for sale” sign is hanging over Turnhouse and a story of constant expansion has now been broken through a very public spat with Ryanair. The budget airline’s decision to remove five routes from the Capital as it demands a better deal from BAA will be seen for what it is and, certainly, the ever-colourful Michael O’Leary’s warning that 300 jobs are at risk can be taken with a pinch of salt.
But whether it has much of an impact or not, it is surely the last thing airport bosses need as they negotiate the future of the terminal.
Over at the bus company, meanwhile, bosses say they have been forced into the latest fare rise by the Scottish Government.
The cut to the Bus Service Operators Grant is being partly blamed for the rises and efforts are now under way to put pressure on Holyrood to think again. Of course, you can bet that even if that happens, fares won’t suddenly be coming down again.
All of which adds up to bad news for passengers in Edinburgh whether you are travelling to Berlin or Barnton . . . but we need to keep it in perspective.
It might not be much comfort as you’re looking for extra change or coping with your summer holiday plans in disarray but both the airport and Lothian Buses have had their hands forced to varying degrees. Both will survive their current problems and continue to thrive.
Our buses remain, for the time being, pretty good value for money. Where Ryanair leaves spaces, others will no doubt be flying in to replace.
So let’s not be too downbeat about today’s news. After all, we’ve still got a tram project to worry about.
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