I'm tired of playing the bus stop waiting game - Kevin Buckle

After “containergate” last week I was hoping to write a more positive column this time but unfortunately waiting for over an hour for my bus after a long day did not help my mood.
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Lothian Country’s X28 gets me home to Kirknewton and in theory runs every half hour. However on Thursday an hour had passed and I was still listening to the entertainment on the Waverley Market roof.

Checking the app the good news was that there was a bus due in six minutes and also rather strangely there were two more buses due in the 17 minutes following that.

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The good news was that three buses were due and surely one would turn up, not that a bus was due in six minutes as that was what the app had told me an hour before only for the bus to “disappear”.

Kevin Buckle waited over an hour for his Lothian Country busKevin Buckle waited over an hour for his Lothian Country bus
Kevin Buckle waited over an hour for his Lothian Country bus

A bus did appear and when I asked the driver if he was very late or just late he confirmed he was 16 minutes late so there was no explanation for what had happened to the previous bus.

The bus stop was even busier than usual even by Festival standards because of the train strike. As usual there was a collection of baffled visitors not understanding that the app cannot be relied on.

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What is inexcusable is that such an important bus stop has no screen to give passengers updated information. When recently there was a fire on Calton Hill and passengers needed to walk down to the West End people were left standing for two hours before a couple of fellow passengers arrived aware of what was needed.

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There is a screen at the West End bus stop and while it does no more than give times for buses or at worst simply state “delayed” it is far more reliable than the app and at least means passengers can make choices rather than simply standing and hoping.

I am going to push Lothian Country for a reason that Waverley Steps has no screen as there are problems on a weekly basis and ask that they at least have an updated page people can access online so that, as for instance when there was recently a crash on the A71, passengers are not left searching traffic news to try and guess what is happening.

On the whole the drivers do a great job and their attempts to stay on time are made harder by the number of visitors who treat them as some sort of tourist advice centre.

Of course a quick question is not the end of the world but time and time again my bus has been delayed getting into Edinburgh when maybe the driver is trying to catch up time by people who think nothing of asking multiple questions that may well not even be travel-related.

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Just to confuse visitors further it was decided my bus would no longer have its second Princes Street stop at Waverley Steps but at the Scott Monument. This I was told was to help with congestion. On a daily basis now, locals seeing people still seated with luggage let them know that if they want the station it is time to get off.

For updates you’ll need to watch this space.