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Humbie, East & West Saltoun and Bolton Community Council

Iain Gray - Bus Regulation (Scotland) Bill

Our Community Council covers a rural area within East Lothian. The
entire area sits within a 20 mile radius of Edinburgh. Humbie has no bus
service, yet it is less than 3 miles from the main A68. East & West
Saltoun and Bolton have very few buses during the day, no buses in the
evening and none on Sundays. This service is provided by a local firm
Prentice Coaches. East and West Saltoun are 6 miles and Bolton less
than 3 miles from Haddington from where there are regular bus services
to Edinburgh.
Over the last few years our community has seen a significant
deterioration in bus service provision, both in terms of timetabling and
frequency. The consequences of this have meant that all members of
our community are reliant on the private car for accessing work, shops,
visiting relatives etc. Non drivers have suffered most from this and rely
increasingly on neighbours and parents goodwill for their
transportation needs. In some cases non drivers have had to change
jobs and/or consider moving house.
The deterioration in bus services has been such a concern in our
community that we undertook a survey. This concluded that the bus
service is neither suited for working adults or for accessing local services
such as shops, doctors etc.. This survey is available from the Humbie,
East & West Saltoun and Bolton Community Council upon request.
Please consider and respond to the following.
1.Do you support the general aim of the proposed Bill? Please indicate
yes/no/undecided and explain the reasons for your response.
We support the main aim of the bill as it would hopefully give local transport
authorities more of a say in their local bus services and would make the running of
bus services more democratic.
It would hopefully make services more stable and avoid situations like the fiasco with
First Bus in East Lothian where so many services were stopped at very short notice.
2.What would be the main practical advantages of the legislation proposed? What
would be the disadvantages
The advantages would be the removal of rules which frustrate integrated transport.
There should be better timetabling and hopefully less reliance on the car.
One of the disadvantages would be that it could exclude small local operators like
Prentice in East Lothian who provide local employment and have local knowledge.
They would be unlikely to be able to bid for franchises. Ultimately this would lead to
a reduction in service providers, therefore allowing large companies to monopolise
services and dictate their terms.

3. In what ways do you envisage reregulation being used to improve bus services?
Hopefully, there could be more integrated ticketing and timetables which would
make journeys more convenient. There should be ways of specifying minimum levels
of service.
4. How can community transport be better utilised to serve local communities and
particularly low passenger volume routes?
The worry is that if Community Transport is better utilised it could mean that this will
become the norm in rural areas, particularly in those areas that at present have a
bus service that is maybe not highly profitable. There has to be a distinction between
the rural areas that are very remote and therefore Community Transport may be the
only viable solution and rural areas that are within a few miles of main towns. In these
areas, near to towns, a bus service with sensible timetabling into the nearest town
should be possible.
5. Do you agree that the Traffic Commissioner should be able to impose greater
financial penalties on operators who a) fail to meet the terms of the franchise or b)
walk away from the franchise altogether?
Yes, providing that any financial penalties are used to benefit the bus services as a
6. What is your assessment of the likely financial implications of the proposed Bill to
you or your organisation? What other significant financial implications are likely to
There could be a negative effect if small local bus companies are unable to tender
for franchises.
7. Is the proposed Bill likely to have any substantial positive or negative implications
for equality? If it is likely to have a substantial negative implication, how might this be
minimised or avoided?
In our area it is the non car driving adults who rely on the bus and older school
children who want to use the bus to gain some independence from their taxi driving
parents. If services can be tailored to the needs of these groups they could use the
buses more and therefore bus companies would become more viableprofit.
8. Do you have any other comment or suggestion that is relevant to the need for or
detail of this Bill?
There should be liaison with rail services in order for there to be better connections
between the two. They should be working together to produce seamless journeys.
Proposals must seek to protect, and encourage, the small bus operators who provide
local employment and local knowledge. Large franchises risk creating monopolies of
large bus companies who can then dictate their terms.