South Queensferry back on bus map after 30 years

Lothian Buses put in a tender for the route. Picture: Greg Macvean
Lothian Buses put in a tender for the route. Picture: Greg Macvean
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LOTHIAN Buses looks set to begin offering a service to South Queensferry and Kirkliston residents for the first time in more than 30 years.

Residents in the towns which are currently served by an hourly Horsburgh service have long demanded a more regular option from city leaders and it seems they have now got their wish.

A report which goes before next week’s transport committee contains a recommendation for the green light to be given to Lothian Buses’ tender to take over the 63 route at a cost of £240,000.

Commuters will be able to hop on board in South Queensferry and travel to Hermiston Gait for the cost of a standard fare £1.50.

Edinburgh Trams daycards or ridacards are also available, allowing passengers the choice of jumping on a tram to York Place for £3.50.

The cost of implementing the new seven-day service 63 is understood to be met by using £100,000 paid in by housing developers in regards the 600- home North Kirkliston housing development – a total of 16 tenders were received from three operators: Horsbrugh, First Scotland East and Lothian Buses. Two other retendered services are also recommended for operation – operator Waverley Travel has been pegged to take over service 64 from Edinburgh Park through Barnton to Silverknowes at a cost of £100,000 a year while service 38 from Granton to King’s Buildings/Cameron Toll and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh will be continued by Lothian Buses for £108,000.Funding for these routes can be met from within the existing city transport budget for subsidised bus services.

The report goes before the city council transport committee for approval next Tuesday June 3. South Queensferry community council chair Terry Airlie said: “This is very positive news. We have fought a long time for a better bus service for South Queensferry. We all pay our council tax but for it receive a much reduced bus service.

“There are a lot of commuters living in South Queensferry and with 700 homes to be built in the coming seven years this will only increase. Access to the tram network with a shared fare structure is a real bonus. However, we would like to see more detail of the proposal before giving our unreserved support.”

It is understood that the twin objectives of offering South Queensferry residents a proper service whilst also ferrying hundreds of daily passengers to the tram was foremost in the thinking of council officers.

City transport convenor and Cllr Lesley Hinds said: “Kirkliston and South Queensferry residents have been petitioning us on this for a number years and I’m glad that we can finally do something for them. They pay their tax like the rest of the city and as such are entitled to a decent service.

“This service will allow residents to reach the city centre and work and shops along the tram route all for just £3.50.”