Lothian Buses faces local backlash over route changes

RESIDENTS and traders have blasted Lothian Buses after plans were unveiled to reduce a service linking north Edinburgh to the rest of the city.

Wednesday, 22nd March 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:10 am
Photographer Ian Georgeson, 07921 567360 Lothian Buses Roseburn Terrace

From next month the number 42 – which runs from Leith to Davidson’s Mains via the south of the city and Stockbridge – will terminate at Craigleith Retail Park.

The change, which was announced as part of the firm’s annual network review, means the bus will no longer stop at Blackhall, Drylaw or Davidson’s Mains.

Critics have hit out at the move amid claims it could damage trade for Stockbridge businesses and cut off residents in the north of the city.

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Emma Phillips, chair of Craigleith and Blackhall Community Council, said they would be campaigning against the decision.

She said: “Stopping this bus service for a large area of north Edinburgh will mean really good businesses and shops in Stockbridge will lose custom because we won’t be able to get there.

“It’s a valuable service for our community and I’m really disappointed.”

Other changes announced by Lothian Buses include the creation of the new Airlink 200, which will link Edinburgh Airport to Ocean Terminal.

Bus chiefs said the reduced 42 would be partly replaced at Drylaw by the new airlink bus, as well as an improved Saturday frequency for the 24.

But Hal Osler, Lib Dem candidate for Inverleith ward in the upcoming council election, said the 42 was a “vital lifeline” for many residents and curtailing the service would have a serious impact.

She said: “I appreciate the fact they [Lothian Buses] are a business but the impact it has on individuals is how are they going to have an alternative? It doesn’t help in respect of trying to stop people from using cars – it just increases the usage. We have a terrible problem with pollution in this city and all this will do is increase it.

“The problem with these things is once they go there’s no appetite to put them back in again because you have to rebuild the service.

“It’s really important that we keep them.”

Mae Douglas, chair of Stockbridge Traders’ Association and owner of Raeburn Place stationery store The Write Stuff, said the 42 was an important service for attracting shoppers.

She said: “If they are used to getting the 42 they won’t bring the car down because they can’t park or can’t afford parking.

“They’ll either be put off coming at all if they can’t get a bus down or if they do decide the bring their car there’s the issue of parking.”

The network changes will come into action on April 23.

A spokesman for Lothian Buses said: “On Mondays to Saturdays service 42 will run between King’s Road and Craigleith Retail Park.

“The section between Craigleith, Blackhall, Drylaw and Davidson’s Mains is withdrawn due to the low number of passengers using this link. Blackhall and Drylaw will instead benefit from new links provided by service 200, running every 30 minutes every day. Additionally service 24 through Drylaw will have its Saturday daytime frequency increased to every 20 minutes.”