Residents of a tiny Midlothian village set to lose its only bus service have said it will be a “disaster” for their community.
Auchendinny, which is home to a few hundred residents, is to lose its bus service entirely at the end of March, with the Lothian Buses 15 service being rerouted out of the town and onto the A701.
Locals will be forced to walk almost a mile along country lanes in order to catch a bus to the Capital, with many fearing the elderly and infirm will no longer be able to get to doctors’ appointments or attend events aimed at keeping them engaged in the community.
The loss of Auchendinny’s bus service is among a raft of changes to Lothian Buses routes and timetables announced last week, but the small Midlothian community is one of the few to lose its service altogether, with no alternative or replacement on offer.
People will have to walk around the Glencorse Golf Course to reach a bus stop at the top of the village brae, a journey of 15 minutes each way which residents say they would be unwilling to make in the dark or during bad weather.
Rachel Milne, 64, said many residents would struggle to get about unless they had access to a car. She added: “I think it’s appalling that there’s no thought being given to people who need to use the bus. Not everybody has a car, not everybody has the health and fitness to be able to walk up that hill to the bus stop.
“I certainly wouldn’t be doing that walk at night, because it’s isolated. When my daughters have been staying here, they’ve come back by bus. I wouldn’t allow them to walk down that hill.”
Mrs Milne added that the number 15 bus provided a door-to-door service to the two nearest GP practices in Penicuik and Roslin and said patients would struggle to make appointments without it.
An assistant practice manager at the Penicuik Medical Practice said that the loss of the bus would “definitely cause problems” for patients.
Ann Steadman, secretary of the Glencorse Centre committee, said the centre’s programme of events for elderly people would be put at risk when the bus service is withdrawn.
The 77-year-old said: “People are very, very dependent on the bus. It would be a disaster if it is withdrawn. It has always been protected.”
Auchendinny has no shops and no pub, with most residents heading to Dalkeith or Morningside to shop and socialise.
The village’s claim to fame is that its former 18th-century paper mill, which became a laundry after burning down in the 1840s, served Queen Victoria during her stays at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
A railway station on the Penicuik branch line was closed down in 1951. Lothian Buses officials said the number 40 bus would be rerouted in an attempt to partially replace the number 15.