X5 West Lothian express bus service facing axe

SNP councillor Robert De Bold says he's concerned over the lack of effective consultation. Picture: contributed
SNP councillor Robert De Bold says he's concerned over the lack of effective consultation. Picture: contributed
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A VITAL commuter link into Capital is among a string of bus services to be axed in West Lothian from this weekend.

The number X5 E&M Horsburgh-run service between Fauldhouse and Regent Road is the only express service running along the route.

West Lothian Council has claimed keeping it running is not a good use of public money.

But Tracy Gollan, who uses the service to get to work from Livingston, has started an 11th-hour campaign reinstate it.

She has written to the Labour administration demanding it reconsiders and has urged her fellow commuters to do the same.

She said: “Instead of the 35 to 40 minutes travelling on the X5, I am left having to get the X22/22, which can take anything between an hour and 40 minutes and two hours, which is totally unacceptable.”

The X5 is used by up to 30 passengers and runs only twice a day, leaving Fauldhouse at 6.18am and returning from Edinburgh at 5.15pm. It is set to end on Sunday alongside ten others, including a “vital” connection from the city to St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

Dr Robert De Bold, SNP councillor for Livingston North, said: “My main concern is the total lack of effective consultation. The cuts seem to have been decided on a purely cost-per-passenger basis with little consideration given to which services are vital and which have alternatives.

“The first time some will realise their service has been cut is when they arrive at the bus stop and it fails to turn up.”

A West Lothian Council spokesman said the authority was committed to maintaining a “sustainable and affordable” public transport network.

He added: “We will spend £8.2 million in 2016-17 to subsidise around 20 per cent of passenger transport services. However £1.5m of savings 
are needed, which has led to changes to a number of bus services to make best use of resources. The X5 service is being withdrawn as it does not represent sustainable use of public money. Each passenger journey is subsidised by over £5 by West Lothian taxpayers.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com