Sunday, 17 July 2022

Edinburgh Lothian Buses 'Sorry for Letting Customers Down' as Service Changes Announced

Lothian Buses have announced new timetable adjustments for several services that will come into affect on July 24, as well as offering a sincere apology to the customers that they have "let down" in the last few weeks.

A statement posted on their social media channels indicated that they were making several service alterations to improve the reliability of buses around the city, as well as indicating that recruitment has been a big issue for the company.

Part of the statement read: "Like many operators across the bus industry, and indeed many other business sectors, recruitment has become a big challenge. Our teams continue to work tirelessly in a difficult climate to recruit and train new drivers in order to allow us to deliver reliable services to our customers - No mention of the tram works!

 "We are very sorry if you are one of the customers we've let down in the last few weeks. We know that we've fallen short on delivering the service you've come to know and respect.

"To ensure that we can stabilise our network and get you back travelling, we will introduce a short notice timetable change from Sunday July 24 in order to operate the services as advertised for our customers."

On their website, Lothian Buses confirmed there will be bus stop changes to Lothian Country services, as well as no route changes for EastCoastbuses, Airport and Nightbus services.

For many of the city's routes, there will be no changes. However, most of the services that operate in and around the city centre will see either a minor timetable change, increased frequency or alternative stops.

Services, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 23, 27 and 30 will all see minor timetable changes, of which can be found on the Lothian Buses website.

Focus Comment 
Regular visitors to Edinburgh will have been dismayed at the queues and congestion in the city centre and beyond, caused by the tram works which have now gone on for years.
Key roads have been closed or reduced in capacity whilst the new tram tracks are laid north-east towards Leith. 

As a visitor to Leith on a regular basis I'm dismayed at the length of time taken to travel on a bus to the city centre. A timetabled journey on service 11 is scheduled to take 25 minutes but can take 50 minutes, as this journey is routed via a section of Elm Row which is badly affected by the tram works. 
Numerous other buses are routed this way and they all stack up, waiting at the ill phased traffic lights and queues to enter the poorly planned bus lay bys. Local traders have lost business as access and parking has disappeared from this massive area. Some traders are hanging on, looking forward to next year when the works are scheduled to be completed. Others sadly haven't survived.

The end of the tram line in 2019 - it is still the end of the tram line in 2022
and will be until 2023!

No wonder Lothian buses are short of drivers, it must be one of the most frustrating jobs to do when a large proportion of their time is spent edging forward in endless traffic jams.
When Edinburgh eventually returns to some kind of normality and the trams run on the new track extension, maybe an Edinburgh bus driving job will again become more attractive.
The smart fleet of buses will again be able to take passengers where they want to go, at acceptable journey times.
It is sad that Lothian Buses aren't brave enough to say that the tram works are a major contributor to the unreliable nature of the bus services. Presumably they can't risk upsetting those in power by telling the truth.
At any one time a large proportion of their vehicles are stationary - queuing in and out of the city centre in the midst of the tram works. 

The only people benefitting from the situation are the companies
 that have supplied the cones

If Only

If only the space allocated to the new tram route had been given over to guided bus lanes to works could have been finished years ago and Edinburgh would have kept its reputation for having a superb, reliable transport system. But no, those responsible for sanctioning the tram works viewed it as a trophy project, ignoring the previous horrendously expensive phase one tram project that was over budget and over time and even required some tracks to be dug up and re-laid even before the trams had travelled on them.
A public inquiry commenced in June 2014 to examine what went wrong on phase one of the tram project and now, after over six years, the inquiry has not yet been finalised. 
More detail of Edinburgh's tram saga can be found here. It doesn't make good reading but should be used as a caution to those planning a prestige project using public money.