This is how residents can get a free taxi after 'catastrophic' 35 bus diversion during Edinburgh Festival
Elderly residents in the centre of the Capital contacted the Evening News to say they are being isolated and forgotten about by the council after the number 35 bus was rerouted for the festival period.
Lothian buses rerouted the number 35 bus around Calton Hill instead of up the Mile for the duration of the Festival due to a closure put in place by the council as part of Summertime Streets.
However, a communications failure has left several vulnerable elderly people unaware of a free taxi service which is available throughout the rerouting of the bus.
Margaret Bishop, 80, and Margaret Durkin, 79, are friends who live in Chessel’s Court off Canongate and were not aware of the taxis.
Mrs Bishop said: “The decision is solely for tourists to walk about. We pay our Council Tax. Are we going to get a month and a half free Council Tax? ”
“It will be very isolating if you can’t get out. It makes me feel like we just don’t matter. The people paying into the council just don’t matter.”
Mrs Durkin added: “It is absolutely catastrophic. It is absolutely disgraceful. My carer had a hell of a time coming in in the car.
The council says a letter was sent to residents in June explaining the free service.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Summertime Streets is as much about creating a safe, liveable environment for residents as it is for visitors.
“By restricting traffic on some streets we want to reduce the pressure caused by increased footfall, making it easier to walk around during the busy festival period.
“Of course this will have an impact on some transport links and we have made every effort to maintain these where possible. While we originally expected that Lothian buses would find a way to continue the service, the alternative registered taxi service now being provided by the council is designed to minimise the impact of this temporary change on our central residents, especially those who are vulnerable.
“In June we wrote to all those living nearby to let them know about these arrangements, with information on how to order a council-provided taxi.”
How do I book one of the council taxis?
The Council has arranged a ‘dial-a-taxi’ service for residents affected by this change to the Service 35.
If you live in Croft-an-Righ, the Canongate area and closes, the High Street area and closes or Dumbiedykes, and you are not able to walk to a nearby stop on Jeffrey Street, St Mary’s Street, or South Bridge, you will be able to pre-book a taxi for necessary journeys.
If you haven't received a letter from the council then you can get in touch with the council on 0131 200 2300 to obtain the number needed to book your taxi.
If you live in sheltered housing and require transport, then you are advised to contact your housing warden first.