Kirkliston bus petition draws 800 signatures

Steve Lee is confident of finding a solution. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Steve Lee is confident of finding a solution. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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A VILLAGE community fighting for better bus services has raised around 800 signatures on the first petition of its kind.

Residents of Kirkliston have submitted the document to be debated by the city council’s new petitions committee on Monday.

Bus firms including EM Horsburgh, First and Stagecoach have all curtailed their services in recent weeks over what they claim is a lack of passengers. Lothian Buses does not cover the village.

Community leaders said the move has had a significant impact on those who rely on public transport.

The petition, to be debated at the City Chambers and broadcast on the “council TV” website, calls for city chiefs to temporarily subsidise a route to connect Kirkliston with South Queensferry and Livingston.

Patients travelling to St John’s Hospital now have to travel to Winchburgh in West Lothian and wait for a connecting service to Livingston.

Steve Lee, chairman of Kirkliston Community Council, said the huge response demonstrated the strength of feeling in the village.

He said: “We’ve had a triple whammy of three different bus services being completely cut or significantly reduced at a time when there is quite rapid expansion of the village.

“This doesn’t fit with the local authority policy of promoting the use of public transport.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from the public. We had a packed public meeting with guests from most bus companies and city transport leader Lesley Hinds, and they were all quite taken aback by how bad things have become here.

“We’re quite confident they will help us find a solution for this. We’re also proud to be the first petition to be debated.”

The current situation arose when West Lothian Council cut the subsidy for EM Horsburgh’s South Queensferry to Livingston route – which stops at Kirkliston – when First introduced the new 651 service.

However, First then cut the new service in October, saying there were too few passengers.

Stagecoach has also cut its service in recent months.

The new petitions committee, chaired by Green councillor Maggie Chapman, requires 500 signatures to get any issue on the council agenda.

Three other petitions were submitted for Monday but were considered invalid.

This included Release the Deloitte Report into the statutory repairs scandal and another calling for relaxed controls on development at the city’s 1300 Colony homes.

A third, that dog owners be required to keep pets on a leash on shared paths, only received 64 signatures.