ERI service axed in bus route shake-up

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

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A BUS route serving Edinburgh’s main hospital is to be scrapped as part of a timetable shake-up forced by Scottish Government funding cuts.

Other services will be stripped down and have their frequency reduced as Lothian Buses attempts to adapt to financial pressure and falling passenger numbers.

The organisation’s managing director Ian Craig alluded to the changes a fortnight ago in the Evening News, blaming the switch on the loss of millions of pounds’ worth of Holyrood cuts.

Now the full list of reductions – including the ceasing of the 48 service from Dalkeith to Ratho, via the ERI – has been revealed in a council document ahead of next week’s transport committee meeting.

Despite the move, Lothian Buses said it had tweaked services to cover most routes and that the company would still provide an “excellent service”.

Mr Craig said: “It is a legal requirement for Lothian Buses to register in advance any service changes with the Traffic Commissioner. We constantly monitor our services and on several occasions throughout the year introduce such changes to maintain the highest possible levels of reliability across our routes.

“With regard to services 7/33 and X48 listed as ‘Cancellations to services’ in section 3.5 of the report, Lothian Buses can reassure customers that these routes will continue to be covered by other services.

“In accordance with standard company practice, Lothian Buses will publish its revised timetables before any planned service changes come into effect.”

Although the 48 and the express X48 will be lost from March 4, some of its stops will be covered by the 33, which will be extended to run to the Sheriffhall park and ride.

At the other end of the route, the 12 service will pick up some of the slack, including providing a service from the city centre to Ratho Village, which it is legally obliged to do.

But Fernieside resident Brian Edgar, who lives with his elderly parents, said that people of similar age in the area would be upset at the changes to the 33 route which would see some roads being missed out.

The 46-year-old shepherd told the Evening News: “People here are up in arms about this.

“It might not seem like a big change to you or me, but for elderly people it’s a difficult walk.

“I think there are ways this could have been avoided, I sat myself and looked at it and within two minutes came up with a solution.”

The city council’s director of services for communities Mark Turley said: “Although it is disappointing that Lothian Buses has found it necessary to make these changes, it is clear that the company has gone to some lengths both to reduce their impact and to meet its contractual obligations as regards the Ratho bus service.”

Bus Timetable Changes

No 7: extended to terminate at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

No 8: re-routed to operate via Leith Street instead of York Place.

No 19: section of route between Leith Street and King’s Road will be withdrawn after 8.30pm each evening.

No 20: extended to the Gyle Centre.

No 23: reduced from six buses an hour to five.

No 27: reduced from six buses an hour to four.

No 30: reduced from six buses an hour to five.

No 33: extended to terminate at Sheriffhall Park and Ride, to compensate for loss of 48/X48.

No 47/X47:Sunday service will be extended to terminate at Penicuik.

No 48/X48: withdrawn.