CRAMOND & BARNTON COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Incorporating Cramond, Barnton, Cammo & Quality Street (West)

Chair: Andrew Mather Secretary: Ian Williamson Planning Rep: Peter Scott
21 Inveralmond Drive 17 Cramond Village 86 Cammo Grove
Edinburgh EH4 6JX Edinburgh EH4 6NS Edinburgh EH4 8HD
Phone: 336 2336 Phone: 476 3897 Phone: 339 7839

John Bury Esq,
Head of Planning and Transport,
City of Edinburgh Council,
Waverley Court,
EDINBURGH EH8 8BG

22 July 2016

Dear Mr Bury,

WITHDRAWAL OF HORSBURGH 64 BUS SERVICE; AN OPPORTUNTIY TO REVIEW SERVICES TO NORTH-WEST EDINBURGH

The Cramond and Barnton Community Council noted the decision to withdraw the subsidy which had sustained the 64 Horsburgh bus service and the reasons for that decision.

This approach comes to you and copies to Lothian Buses to ask that a review of the bus services that serve the North West of Edinburgh (and with particular regard to the inequity of service to Cramond and Barnton) be carried out with a view to trying to establish whether there is scope for an additional service or services that would offer some real choice for the people of this community. (The attached Appendix describes the current services).
We believe that the options for improvement are many and varied. Provide for some of the 41 service to approach and leave Cramond via Cramond Road North to and from Davidsons Mains. Have some of the 42 service begin and end in Cramond rather than at the Davidson Mains Tescos (where the bus often sits when it could be down to Cramond). Bring some of the 31 service from East Craigs to Cramond and look at the scope for looping the service through the new Gateway Rail Station. An 41/31 interchange around the Barnton shops would also go some way towards addressing the request made some months ago by friends in the Blackhall/Craigleith Community Council for a direct route from the City Centre along the Queensferry Road and on to the Airport. A permutation comprising some of the 41 service following a direct route to and from Davidsons Mains and the City Centre along with some of the 31 service starting and ending in Cramond would we believe provide the optimal solution. Each has their own attributes and would together offer better choices which may become well used services.

The need to look for opportunities to deliver the Council’s policy objective of achieving greater integration of public transport services is enshrined in the governance arrangements between the City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian Buses. This commitment was further emphasised in August 2013 when at the launch of Transport for Edinburgh Lesley Hinds said that “Our first priority will be integration between buses and tram services and we will have Executive Directors of Lothian Buses on the board of the new organisation”. The new Gateway Rail Station is an integrated transport hub (and including a bus turning circle) – best value for money will only be realised if every effort is made to optimise its use. As well as its connection to the tram and the airport it also has the advantage of proximity to the Gyle Shopping Centre.

We recognise the pressures on resources. We do not know whether some of the existing services could be tweaked without detriment to the viability. We believe that the options should be fully explored. We note that in 2015 Lothian Buses carried more than 121 million passengers – up 2 million on the previous year (which was in turn up 3 million on the year before). A £5.5 million dividend was paid to shareholders and the Council is a 91% shareholder. That is to be applauded but does beg the question of whether Transport for Edinburgh have got the balance right between providing a responsive/equitable public transport service while at the same time returning a profit. The bus service provided in Edinburgh is without question one of the best in the United Kingdom. Lothian Buses have rightly enjoyed many plaudits. But for a small percentage of the population it serves there remains room for improvement.

We would be happy to meet with you to explore the options.

Yours sincerely,

IAN D WILLIAMSON

Secretary

Copy to:
Councillors Work, Patterson and Shields
Councillor Lesley Hinds
Lothian Buses
Blackhall/Craigleith CC, Drum Brae Cc, Corstorphine CC


Appendix

BACKGROUND – CURRENT SERVICE PROVISION IN NORTH WEST EDINBURGH

The Cramond and Barnton Community Council notes that the north west of Edinburgh is well served by buses.
If you live in Silverknowes or Davidsons Mains then the chances are you will be within a short walk of stops for the 16, 27, 29, 37, 21, 32 or 42 Lothian Bus services. Walk less than a quarter of a mile further east along Muirhouse Parkway from the roundabout at the Silverknowes Golf Club and a further three options emerge in the form of stops for the 8, 14 and 24. These services offer access to many parts of Edinburgh without the need to change service. A choice of multiple routes and destinations, timetables and travel timescales.

If you live in Cramond or in most parts of Barnton then the chances are you will be within a short walk of the 41 Lothian Bus service. You are also likely to live within about 1.5 miles of the multiple choices enjoyed by residents in the neighbouring Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes. Or a similar distance away from those who live in East Craigs where the 31 begins its journey. But for the vast majority of residents of this community that extra 1.5 miles is not an option and they are left with Hobson’s choice – the 41. On a good day at the right time the 41 bus provides a good service with a journey time to the City centre of around 40-45 minutes. On other occasions the journey time can be half an hour longer. And in exceptional circumstances if there is an accident or breakdown or flooding on the Queensferry Road then you would be quicker walking from town.

The irony is that in some of these exceptional circumstances the 41 bus drivers heading out of town for Cramond will, on leaving Davidsons Mains, travel north along Cramond Road South direct towards Cramond so that they can avoid the gridlock west-bound on the Queensferry Road. The irony stems from the fact that one of the options or variables which this community would welcome involves a service (or part of a service) using Cramond Road North as a direct route into and out of Davidsons Mains and cutting out the circuit of Whitehouse Road and the Queensferry Road.