Wednesday, 4 April 2012

First to cut Services and Close Dalkeith Depot

64009 Mercedes-Benz Citaro flanked by members of the opposition. Pulling into the back of St.Andrews Bus Station, Edinburgh. Another refugee from over the Border, originally EC 2009 one of ten delivered to First London in 2002 for contracted route RV1 which took in tourist sights such as Covent Garden and The London Eye.
First Scotland East has confirmed it is to discontinue a number of services in the East Lothian and Midlothian regions of Scotland. The company also confirmed that it has started the collective consultation process with Trade Unions on the possibility of redundancies at its Dalkeith and Musselburgh bus depots, which includes the possible closure of the Dalkeith depot.

This difficult decision has been reached after a number of years of poor trading performance which can no longer be borne by the business given the current challenging economic climate, high fuel prices and cuts in external funding.

Paul Thomas, Managing Director of First Scotland East, said: "We appreciate this will be distressing news for many of our staff and also unwelcome news for customers.

"However, we have for some time been running a number of services in the East and Mid Lothian regions at a loss. Over a number of years we have tried many marketing and pricing initiatives to change this, but the extra financial pressures put upon us by the current economic climate, high fuel prices and cuts in external funding mean that we simply have no option other than to discontinue the bulk of our operation in East Lothian and Midlothian.

 "Unfortunately, up to 200 positions are at risk, from our Dalkeith depot, which we propose to close, and from our Musselburgh depot which we propose to significantly reduce in size. Our decisions do not, in any way, reflect the commitment and quality of our staff in the area. I cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism and dedication. We will be doing everything that we can to assist affected staff.

"We fully explored a range of alternatives, including selling our operations and transferring staff to another operator, but unfortunately these were unsuccessful.

"I do regret that we are having to discontinue services in the East and Mid Lothian regions and consider the possibility of redundancies. However, if we are to continue as a viable business we see no alternative.'

First Scotland East today (April 2) began its official consultation process with affected staff. This will include offering opportunities in other areas. The company also provided notice to the Traffic Commissioner and the Local Authority of its intention to cease running affected commercial services after the required statutory period of 70 days and affected tendered services after 90 days.

The East and Mid Lothian operations affected account for less than a fifth of the entire First Scotland East operation.

31637 Volvo Olympian/Alexander Royale Princes Street, Edinburgh
62383 Scania L113CRL/Wright Gullane, East Lothian originally delivered to Midland Bluebird
61214 Scania L113CRL/Wright Haddington, East Lothian originally delivered to First Yorkshire Rider
Link and pictures from Tony Wilson