Edinburgh Old town residents outraged at bus shortage

A resident of Edinburgh’s Old Town has described the lack of buses in her area as “outrageous”, following a series of cancellations and diversions over the last two years.
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Stephanie Wint, 64, lives on Dumbiedykes Road and has had to walk or get a taxi to work due to the lack of local bus services. The Lothian Buses number 6 service was cancelled in March 2020 and the number 35 was diverted in May this year due to long term traffic works. Mrs Wint now regularly walks her 25 minute commute, despite a sore foot. She is concerned for the people in her neighborhood, many of whom are elderly.

“It is outrageous we have no bus service round here at all,” she said.

Bus hopes - Councillor Claire MillerBus hopes - Councillor Claire Miller
Bus hopes - Councillor Claire Miller

“I do manage, but I know lots of people who won't.”

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Mrs Wint now has to travel as far as South Bridge in order to access a bus.

Until last October, Mrs Wint was part of a residents association which contacted their local councillor about the issue. However, the residents association dissolved due to a lack of committee members and the community did not hear about what would be done.

Axed: The number 6 serviceAxed: The number 6 service
Axed: The number 6 service

The Green councillor for the City Centre ward, Claire Miller had secured funding from the Transport and Environment committee in February 2020 for a new service to be designed, but the pandemic put progress on hold and the project has not continued.

Speaking to the Evening News, she said: “I completely share residents’ frustrations and concerns about being cut off from shops, health centres, and their friends and family.

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"I’ve been working to get the community a bus service since day one when I held my first meetings with residents in Dumbiedykes, but we have been set back because of the pandemic.”

Councillor Miller added: “People in Dumbiedykes often feel their needs have been forgotten or overlooked, but I will carry on fighting for the accessible and convenient public transport they deserve.”

Diverted: The Lothian Buses route 35 serviceDiverted: The Lothian Buses route 35 service
Diverted: The Lothian Buses route 35 service

Over recent years, the number of bus routes subsidised by Edinburgh City Council has fallen and funding for new routes is increasingly difficult to find. Councillor Miller hopes negotiations for a new service for Dumbiedykes and the surrounding area can resume soon.

A Lothian Buses spokesperson said: “Lothian is committed to delivering an excellent standard of service for the residents and visitors of Edinburgh and the Lothians. The normal route of Service 35 is currently affected by a road closure as a result of necessary road works and as such options for alternative diversions are no longer practicable.”

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“The lack of alternative routes for Service 35 in the Canongate area has frequently been highlighted as it was not unusual for us to have to withdraw the service from the Canongate due to traffic congestion.

"When the final planning of the works now under way in the High Street were shared we highlighted the effect on public transport provision in the area. This ultimately resulted in Edinburgh City Council arranging the on-demand taxi-service currently still in place.”

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