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Review of West Lothian's bus network

Review of West Lothian's bus network

28 March
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The council is to carry out a review of West Lothian's bus network following significant changes to commercial bus services.

The local bus network is provided through a combination of commercial services (80% of the network) and council subsidised services (20%).  

The commercial network underwent significant changes in 2018 including First Bus revising its service and Lothian Country extended their service.

As a result, commercial services are now serving local communities differently. This has resulted in a number of route and timetable overlaps between the commercial and subsidised network.

Whilst there is potential for further commercial changes, the level of overlap is such that the council is now legally required to adjust its subsidised services. Work is now underway to identify the required charges and a revised subsidised local bus service.

A report will be submitted to the Development and Transportation PDSP to discuss the changes required to remove the overlaps and to maintain a sustainable subsidised service which contributes to the council's overarching public transport strategy. The outcome will be reported to a future meeting of the Council Executive.

Executive councillor for Development and Transport, Cathy Muldoon, said: "Our review could not be started earlier as the commercial market was changing frequently and any modelling work undertaken would have been negated as the next phase of changes was made.

"The majority of bus routes in West Lothian are commercially operated and when they change it can impact upon the linkages and overlaps between subsidised routes. Funding for subsidised bus services is limited and it's right that we carry out a review to ensure that breaks and overlaps in services are identified and that subsidised routes operate as efficiently as possible."

The council has agreed to extend funding for a number of time limited subsidised services until the outcome of the review is known.

To maintain the current level of subsidised service until the review is complete, the council has agreed to extend a number of time limited subsidised bus route until 31 July. The funding for these subsided services was due to end at the end of March.

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