Scottish Borders Transport – Bus Connections & Timetabling

This is the 2nd blog from the Duns Transport event back in November, which looks at the Bus Connections and timetabling issues discussed.

Issues raised

The group had experienced many issues around bus connections and timetabling.  Below is what we heard.

It is common for the buses not to connect for onward journeys to destinations. An example of this is if you live in Denholm where they have an infrequent service into Hawick which can mean long waits for a connecting bus. It is also common for the connections to be too tight, not allowing for any delays meaning connections are missed and long waits for the next bus which in in the Borders is often an hourly service.

“ The 60 and 34 services from Gala to Duns, it arrives 5 minutes after the other one has left”

Living in communities outside of the bigger towns in the Borders can make employment or even hospital visits a challenge if you rely on public transport. Many small communities have infrequent services with the first bus being at around 6.30am, the next one at 8.30am and then 10am, and the same challenges returning home with the added pressure of no evening services after 7pm especially if you need to get 2 buses.

“I live in Denholm to get to the BGH by bus I need to get 3 buses, the first one into Hawick, then one to the Interchange where I can get one to the hospital, a 12 mile journey takes at least 2 hours 10 minutes as long as you have no delays and the connections match up”

In East Berwickshire it is too reliant on the Edinburgh to Berwick service, it is difficult to travel between the smaller communities, a circular service would be great.

Another issue is that sometimes it is difficult to know where and when to get a bus from, it can be really hard to predict.

In some of the more rural communities where wifi/ phone signals can be limited, real time bus info and apps are not much use.

Solutions

The group came up with some great solutions and a few ideas that they would like to look into further to see if they could work.

Solutions from other areas that they would like to look at further are:

  • Demand Responsive Taxi’s which could help connect the outlying communities into the transport network that already exists.
  • ‘Have fun on the 91’ in Aberfeldy where they have a circular bus service, perhaps something similar would work in East Berwickshire?
  • E car/car clubs, although SBC have an E Car club all the cars are based in the larger towns so not accessible for the smaller more rural villages like Denholm or Swinton where you would first need to get to Hawick or Duns to pick the car up.
  • Scooters like the Green Dragon scheme in Wales, where people can hire scooters for 6 months to a year to help them get to employment.

Another solution that the group thought would be really helpful was to engage with the bus operators to steer them into integrating the services better to ensure better connections.

On the issue of timetable information the group thought that:

  • Improving signposting to the latest timetable would help, it would be good to have the information more accessible in the GP practices, libraries and on the Community Council noticeboards.
  • Latest timetable information sent directly to household but they also realised that this is both costly and difficult to keep up to date
  • Produce a tri-fold flyer with all the relevant timetable/bus information.

Next Steps

The next step for connections and timetabling is to look in more depth at how communities use their existing services and what they would like to use them for. 2 pilot areas will be used, Duns & Denholm, we will design and set up a questionnaire to gather the views of the community and the demand for transport in the areas. Denholm Community Council and Rural Wisdom will lead on this.

A visit to The Rural Network in Lanarkshire is also to be arranged by Rural Wisdom.

Further information

More information about Rural Wisdom in the Borders can be found on our website or you can contact Christine.

 

Links to Blogs in the Series

Scottish Borders Transport – Connecting Villages & Towns

Scottish Borders Transport – Bus Stops & Pavements

Scottish Borders Transport – Transport & Medical Appointments

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