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Closing bus stops won’t solve route’s reliability problems

Terry Nicholson Balerno Edinburgh EH14
20 March 2020

I read your item regarding the plan to remove some bus stops on Edinburgh’s cross-city 44 route (Balerno to Wallyford) in order to speed up the buses (‘Edinburgh reveals bus stop closure plan’ LTT 06 Mar). This is not really tackling the problem.

The 44 is supposed to run every ten minutes from the city centre to Balerno, but as everybody in Balerno knows, for most of the day there are two buses every 20 minutes. This is because it is a cross-city route and two buses arrive in the city centre from Wallyford about three to five minutes apart instead of ten minutes apart, and sometimes together.

The situation is then compounded by the first of the two buses filling up and needing to stop at every stop on the outward journey. The second bus, having far fewer passengers stops less frequently and usually passes the first one on Kingsknowe Hill, mid-way between the city centre and Balerno.

Some years ago, on Sundays the service was half-hourly, but in the middle of the day (1000 - 1700) there was an additional bus on the intermediate 15 minutes that only ran from St Andrew Square in the city centre  to Balerno and back. It was always on time whereas the other one that came from Wallyford ran the usual ten minutes late.

The obvious answer to the problem is to have all the buses start and terminate in the city centre instead of running cross-city. I have written to Lothian Buses pointing this problem out on several occasions. 

On a practical point it really is not a good idea to leave elderly people standing at the bus stop outside the doctors’ surgery for 20+ minutes (often in very cold weather), which has happened to me and many others on more than one occasion.

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