United to retain services

The three MSPs are keen to retain what they say is a lifeline service between the region and Edinburgh.
The three MSPs are keen to retain what they say is a lifeline service between the region and Edinburgh.

Three south Scotland MSPs have united to campaign for the retention of what they say is a lifeline bus service.

Joan McAlpine, Aileen Campbell and Christine Grahame have said that the 101/102 bus service from Dumfries to Edinburgh is a vital link connecting local rural communities across the region, the loss of which will particularly affect young people and the elderly.

The service has come under threat after Scottish Borders Council took the decision to withdraw funding.

Ms McAlpine said: “The threat to axe the service runs against the new spirit of bringing the south of Scotland together in the Scottish Government’s new proposed economic partnership.

“Scottish Borders Council know that if they pull their share of the funding for this service then it will be cut. They have a responsibility to work together with neighbouring local authorities in the region to maintain this service.

“As major funders - It is simply unacceptable for Scottish Borders Council to pull out - and I have written separately to them in those terms.”

Ms Grahame also recently raised the matter recently during First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament. The service is subsidised by three local councils but due to the decision to cut funding from just over £135,000 to £35,000 its future is uncertain beyond the current contract in August. Discussions are ongoing between the council and Borders Buses which has expressed an interest in possibly taking over the contract from Biggar to Edinburgh dependent on council support.