A new company has been launched to create a fresh transport link between South Queensferry and Edinburgh city centre.
The new firm, Lothian Country, will be wholly owned by Lothian Buses but will operate as a standalone business with its own products and buses.
Council chiefs had been in talks with Lothian Buses ever since Stagecoach announced it would be withdrawing the No 40 – the only direct bus link from South Queensferry to the city centre – from June 6.
Stagecoach had operated the service for the last three years but said it had since become “unsustainable”.
Former council transport leader Lesley Hinds told the News earlier this month she had been “given assurance” that a deal to replace the service would soon go ahead.
In a statement, the firm said: “Historically two major transport providers First and Stagecoach have been unable to operate commercially viable services within this area with low patronage and increasing levels of traffic congestion contributing to their withdrawal.
“The successful continuation of bus services is wholly dependent on customer usage levels – it’s important that the community embrace our new venture to ensure its ongoing success.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes over the last few weeks gathering customer and journey time data and working in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council on the delivery of bus priority measures that ensure our ability to run reliable services which optimise journey times and deliver a positive customer experience.”
Some of the measures whcih have now been agreed for implementation include traffic signal prioritisation at Princes Street/Queensferry Street junction and Queensferry Street/Melville Street, a commitment that the existing citybound bus lane is not compromised on approach to Dean Bridge and a review of parking restrictions on key arterial city routes to allow for passing places for buses.
Detail as to routes and fares are not yet available.