Another bus loss for Ferry

Date: 21/03/12.  FALKIRK, General Views of First Buses and passengers.
Date: 21/03/12. FALKIRK, General Views of First Buses and passengers.
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BUS users in Queensferry may have to look for alternative transport within weeks as First look set to scrap late night buses from the city centre at weekends.

First are to shelve the N43 service from Friday, November 2, which runs twice nightly on both Fridays and Saturdays from Edinburgh at​ 12.30am and 3.15am.

The proposed service loss comes just months after First decided to ditch its half-hourly service to an hourly service on the 43 after 8pm, both in and out of the city.

As the Queensferry Gazette went to press yesterday (Thursday), Paul Thomas, managing director for Scotland East said: “We are having to make the difficult decision to withdraw our evening service which operates from Edinburgh to Linlithgow/Boness via Queensferry as it is not covering its basic operating costs, which is ultimately due to low passenger numbers using the service. Therefore we cannot continue to operate this service as it is not commercially viable.”

The bus is popular with those wishing to remain in the city beyond the last 43 bus at 11.25pm. The later bus is ideal for young people who use it to get home after a night out at city centre clubs.

But proposals to scrap the late buses, mean people will be forced to order taxis.

And instead of paying in the region of £5 to get home, they will have to fork out over £20 for a taxi.

A spokesman for Queensferry and District Community Council said of the loss of service: “I don’t think it was very heavily used by Queensferry people. The route only benefitted a small number of Queensferry streets and it ran slightly after, and slower than, buses from Stagecoach. I don’t think it’s huge loss for people in Queensferry.”

Good news, however, is that a local service that was under threat is to remain. The 474, which runs from Queensferry through Linlithgow to Bathgate, will continue thanks to funding from West Lothian Council.

The service, however, will change to number 23 and be operated by E and M Horsburgh as opposed to Davidson.

The 7 service, between Queensferry, Livingston and St John’s Hospital is to be cut from an hourly service from 7am to just three morning services from Echline 7.13am, 8.13am and 9.25am. Four evening services will run between Echline and the A899 Fastlink at 6.25pm, 7.25pm, 8.25pm and 9.25.