Residents say change of operator means bus-tram journey into Edinburgh costs more

Ratho residents say they’re losing out on fares

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:30 am
First Bus took over the No20 service from Lothian Buses on August 31 No20 First Bus

RESIDENTS in Ratho say a change of bus operator has left them paying more for the same service.

First Bus took over the running of the No 20 service from Lothian Buses on August 31 and insists it has introduced improvements.

But residents have long been unhappy about the lack of a direct service between the village and the city centre.

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Many take the bus to the nearest tram stop to get into town, but now the service is run by First Bus they can no longer use a Lothian Buses £4.50 day ticket to cover both bus and tram fares.

Kate Gillan, who has helped set up campaign group Living Streets Ratho, said: “A lot of villagers use the bus to get to the tram stop because there is no direct bus, but now it’s about double the price - someone calculated you could spend £57 per month for the First Bus connection and then you have the cost of the tram. Before it was just one app you would need.”

First Bus say people could still switch from bus to tram using One-Ticket which is accepted by all transport operators - but the cost would be £5.50 a day.

Judy Wightman, chair of Ratho and district community council, said they had conducted a survey of local views.

“Basically the buses don’t go where people want to go and they don’t go when they want them to go.

“What people really want is a bus service to the centre of Edinburgh and they want one in the evening.

“At the moment - since Covid hit - we only have an hourly service. The 6.30am one has gone, which means people who work overnight can’t get home and because the 7.30am has gone it means children going into St Augustine’s High School have to catch the 7am bus.

“And at the other end of the day, if you’re in town you have to leave before 8pm.”

Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine has organised a Zoom meeting with residents tonight at 8pm to hear their complaints and see what can be done.

She said: “The community has been unhappy with the bus service for some time and this just compounds the issues. I want to hear their views so that I am able to take their case forward.

“Ratho is an area that is poorly served and there should be proper consultation with the people in Ratho about local transport.”

A First Bus spokesman said it ran the 20 route on behalf of the city council and the service level and any changes had to be agreed in advance with them.

He said: “The One-Ticket is accepted through our mobile app on board, meaning passengers can still purchase a bus ticket and connect up with the tram.

“We have also introduced a flat fare structure similar to that of the previous operator, but with the added benefit of more connections and great value tickets along with access to the rest of the First West Lothian network.

“In fact, the service now provided covers more areas and connects with more communities than previously possible.

“The service 20 is currently operating on a Covid timetable until September 28th when a number of improvements including evening and weekend journeys will be introduced as well as a 30 minute service.”

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