Villagers on edge of Edinburgh say they will be 'stranded' if bus service is withdrawn

People in Ratho have felt poorly connected with Edinburgh since the direct bus service to the city centre was withdrawn eight years ago.

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

The replacement route which only takes them as far as Chesser means they have to change to another bus or the tram to get into town.

But now even that service, the No 20, is set to be scrapped and villagers without their own transport face being stranded.

So residents have launched a campaign to ensure a bus service is maintained and to persuade councillors and bus bosses of the need to restore a direct route.

In a letter to council leader Cammy Day and members of the council’s transport committee, they say: “No bus service for Ratho will have serious implications for everyone but especially those with disabilities or mobility issues and for non-drivers, for whom walking, cycling or driving to a bus stop is not an option.

"Members of the community will be left dependent on lifts or expensive taxi travel to and from the village or to bus stops, the nearest of which is just over a mile away along an unlit country road. This isn’t viable for regular journeys especially at a time when the cost of living is increasing daily.

“Ratho has a large elderly community, many of whom would be left stranded in the village. The doctors surgery also sits at the top of a long hill which for some would become even more inaccessible without the short bus trip from one end of the village to the other.

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The No 20 bus, which goes from Ratho to Chesser, could be withdrawn next month.

“We also have workers who rely on a bus service to get them to and from their place of work in a reliable and affordable way."

First Bus, who took over running the No 20 from Lothian Buses in 2020, has told the council it does not want to extend the contract, which ends on August 30, blaming a shortage of drivers.

Judy Wightman, chair of Ratho and District Community Council, said: “In the past, when there was trouble getting the contract in place, Lothian Buses just kept going until the tender was sorted. We've never been threatened with no bus. They are just literally cutting us off.”

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She said numbers using the No 20 had fallen because it did not go into the city centre and had recently been unreliable. “People would like a direct service into the centre of Edinburgh, they would like a reliable service they can depend upon and a frequent one.”

Another resident, Neil Hancock, said: “When we moved to the village just over a decade ago we could get a direct bus from town to the village which meant if you were out on an evening or you wanted to go shopping at the weekend that was available.

“The route we've got now is very circuitous and doesn't go into town, it only goes to Chesser and it takes over an hour to get to there.

“We've stopped using the bus service and we drive now and there's a lot of people in the village who do that because it's just not a convenient service and it doesn’t go where people need it to go.”

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The council has initiated talks with Lothian Buses and other operators in an effort to find a solution before August 30.

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