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

Chair: Andrew Mather Secretary: Ian Williamson  
21 Inveralmond Drive 17 Cramond Village  
Edinburgh EH4 6JX Edinburgh EH4 6NS  
Phone: 336 2336 Phone: 476 3897  

Ian Bieniowski, Esq
Lothian Buses
Annandale Street
Edinburgh EH7 4AZ

Dear Ian

I refer to my recent approach to you about service options from Cramond to the city – and vice versa. I thought it would be helpful to provide some more detail behind our thinking.

The ongoing and temporary re-routing of the 41 city bound service from Cramond sparked a fresh debate at our recent Community Council meeting about bus services to the locality. While the stop/start scenario which greeted the introduction to these temporary arrangements was frustrating for a number of passengers – and businesses – the Community Council has endeavoured to keep people informed of the changing situation (and of the reasons behind the delay and uncertainty about when the associated roadworks were going to commence).

Many of those who have used the temporary city bound service from Cramond have welcomed the new shorter and quicker route to Davidson’s Mains and on into the city. The Community Council has been mandated to write to Lothian Buses – and to the Transport and Environment Committee and the North West Locality Committee – to ask that fresh consideration be given to adopting the route on a permanent basis. We would also ask that you assess the scope for going beyond adopting the temporary city bound route by at the same time looking at a direct return route from Davidson’s Mains to Cramond.

We recognise that the commercial case for a new additional service is unlikely to have improved much since we last approached you about this in 2016. However, there are increasing numbers of visitors to Cramond and the foreshore supported in part by the recent progress achieved by the various local groups in the area in securing new and improved interpretation boards throughout much of the area. Within the coming weeks we will see the opening of the new Cramond Residence care home next to Cramond Green at the terminus for the 41 service. This and the other care home for which planning permission has been granted (behind Cramond Glebe Road) is likely to herald a further increase in bus patronage from staff and visitors over the months and years to come. Notwithstanding these, albeit small, increases to the potential service users not all of our proposals require an additional service; one at least involves providing for the existing service to be varied or flexed enabling some buses to return using the “traditional” route along Whitehouse Road and the Queensferry Road with some using the route of the current temporary direct service – ie along Gamekeepers Road and Cramond Road South to Davidson’s Mains and on (and vice-versa as we have suggested in the last parargraph. As a starting proposition we would suggest a 1:1 ratio as in alternating the service – or perhaps a 1:2 thus maintaining a balance more reflective of the existing route. We understand that there is some precedence for such an arrangement with the 21 service where some go to Clovenstone while some go to the Gyle.

We would suggest that this variable route may flush out an element of “additional” passengers from Cramond who currently “drive, park and ride” from locations closer to town including Silverknowes, Davidsons Mains and Murrayfield from which locations the bus ride into the city is very quick. (The journey time for the direct service to Davidsons Mains is likely to be closer to a half of the journey time using the traditional route). The formal adoption of the direct route may also offer a usable contingency for the 41 (traditional) service in those circumstances where the control centre picks up significant delays and/or gridlock on the Queensferry Road and where the service is re-routed via Cramond Road South to avoid the Queensferry Road. We understand that registration of the new route with the Traffic Commissioner would allow the bus to carry passengers which it is prohibited from doing so at present. A service ratio which protects the existing city bound service in accessing the Barnton junction with its shops, post office and bank is critical commercially for these shops and services and for many customers, especially the elderly and those without access to a private car, living in Cramond and elsewhere in Barnton along the Whitehouse Road.

We believe that these proposals would offer greater service choice for the residents of Cramond and Barnton (including for many a quicker service) and could be achieved at minimal or no net additional cost to Lothian Buses (other than that which may be associated with applying to vary the route with the Traffic Commissioner). They also support the Community Council’s policy of striving to work with partners in delivering initiatives which are designed to reduce congestion and improve traffic flows on those roads which traverse the Barnton Junction. That commitment was restated again during the presentation we made to the North West Locality Committee in the City Chambers on Tuesday 18 June 2018.

Inviting Lothian Buses to look at the service to Cramond and Barnton with the envelope of the current service resource is inevitably a compromise for this community and there will be some who live around the existing route for whom the resultant service may be less frequent. The Community Council’s first choice would of course be for a net additional service, either in the way we have described or by looking afresh at the route of the 42 with a view to extending it back to Davidson’s Mains and also down Cramond Road South to Cramond, returning using the loop that is Whitehouse Road and Gamekeepers Road. This preferred option would of course carry additional cost implications but the extended route would be expected to attract new passengers from the additional streets covered.

We and our local Councillors stand ready to sit down with your experts in evaluating these options.

All the Best,

Andrew Mather

Cramond and Barnton Community Council

Copy to:

Jim Macfarlane and Sarah Boyd Lothian Buses, CC members and Ward Councillors ,
Councillor Lesley McInnes (Convenor Transport and Environment Committee), Councillor Robert Aldridge (Convenor North West Locality Committee), Stuart Lowrie, City of Edinburgh Council