An enterprising public transport group with volunteers at the wheel has issued a passionate rallying cry to bus users in Bo’ness.
And the message from Bo’ness and Community Bus Association could not be clearer with regard to its independently-run service to Edinburgh – use it or lose it.
Marketing Trustee Val Ferguson said: “We are aiming to build on passenger numbers on our existing route to Edinburgh to achieve sustainability for our ‘not for profit’ service.
“To do this, we are appealing to Bo’ness residents of all ages to support us as this would keep an important transport link to the capital within our control,
“This takes away the dependence on commercial operators who have to be driven by profitable routes.”
Yet the group’s approach does not end there as members are determined that the wider world should benefit and boost Bo’ness in the process.
They believe that the route holds the key to unlocking the key aspiration of getting more visitors into Bo’ness, including its town centre which is underperforming in this regard.
This would neatly address the demand by foreign tourists to see the relatively high amount of sites which have the common thread of being used as film and television sets in and around the town.
Val stressed “We are also keen to get publicity in Edinburgh for our route as it is the only public transport service for Edinburgh directly serving Blackness Castle as well as the centre.
“Both of these areas have popular ‘Outlander ’ filming sites as well as the Hippodrome, the Kinneil estate, Antonine Fort and James Watt workshop.”
Val also sees that the route can address the mounting international interest in the man who created America’s national park and passed through the area on his route to his new life across the Atlantic.
She said:“Additionally we have access to The John Muir Way and we already have walking groups from Edinburgh using our service,
“And in order to expand, we are working towards getting a wheelchair accessible minibus and will do so when funds permit.”
Moves are already afoot to boost the coffers as the group wants to find a sponsor and expand its private hire service.
Recently the group has recently held a fun competition to name two new buses in a move sponsored by Virtue Money of Linlithgow.
The winners were Mr R Willox and Mrs M McGurk sharing the prize for ‘Beau Nessie’ and Mrs C Symonds winning the prize for ‘The Kinneil Connection’.
One of the buses will take pride of place at the procession at the Bo’ness fair.