No future for under-used X19 Express

Prentice Westwood X19 bus service
Prentice Westwood X19 bus service

Anger and recriminations are flying in Bo’ness as local coach company Prentice Westwood reveal they are stopping the X19 service to Edinburgh.

And now users of the service in the town have resorted to a Facebook petition to try and save it.

Anne-Marie Travers contacted the Journal and Gazette to alert us to the situation, saying: “Not sure if your aware that the Edinburgh x19 will cease service at the end of June leaving commuters no bus to get to work, or Bo’ness people to visit Edinburgh or give commuters the chance to visit Bo’ness from out of town.

“Commuters who travel to Edinburgh every day and have done for years will now be faced with costs up to £149 a month extra.

It’s time all us Bo’ness people stood up to the the council who have cut the subsidy on our bus services continuously over the past few years!”

David Reid of Prentice Westwood responded: “We took this service on after First dropped it thinking we could do better. Unfortunately it has transpired that despite our very best efforts to try and make changes which could have made it more profitable, including offering special deals, changing timetables around, it’s simply not been possible.

“Without the council subsidy this is not a financially viable route for us. First couldn’t make it work and neither can we.

“I don’t blame the council for a minute. They’ve worked with us to try and find other ways round the problem but they have their hands tied trying to fill a £40 million deficit and cannot plough money into a failing route.”

With the financial situation being clear for all to see, very few of those who use it are unhappy.

As one reader said: “If it’s a case of having your bins emptied weekly or throwing cash you don’t have at a loss-making service which people aren’t using, then it’s a no-brainer.”

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “The X19 service costs the council £116,000 per year. Councils do not normally support express services and this is the only council supported express service in the Falkirk Council area.

“Unfortunately the X19 is under-used and we cannot continue to run this service.”