Give us more time, says council leader

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MIDLOTHIAN council chiefs are today set to press First Bus for more time to seek out alternatives after the travel firm announced major cuts to services in the county.

Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan, pictured, said: “Following discussions with First Bus, we understand we have been presented with full details on Midlothian routes. We are meeting with First Bus to ask them to reconsider the extremely short notice they’ve given us and we will ask them to continue running these services for longer.

“This would give us more time to explore alternative services with other operators.”

A spokesman for First Bus said: “We look forward to meeting Midlothian Council and would not wish to prejudge the outcome of those discussions.

Meanwhile, East Lothian MSP Iain Gray said the contraction of bus services is “on a scale unprecedented in living memory”. He added: “Under current legislation all First needs to do is provide a couple of months’ notice that they are dropping services and communities are left without a bus service. That is simply wrong and I call on local SNP politicians to put local communities before their party and join my call for a stronger system of regulation for bus services in Scotland.”