A bus company denies that the withdrawal of one of its services from a handful of streets in Hawick has left elderly passengers stranded.
Councillor Davie Paterson has contacted Perryman’s on several occasions to complain about the H1/H2 service introduced last year no longer serving Cheviot Road and neighbouring streets in his Hawick and Hermitage ward.
He says he has been contacted by a number of predominantly elderly constituents claiming to have been left isolated by that change of route, and he is calling for a rethink.
A spokeswoman for Perryman’s has defended the move, however, saying it followed extensive research and public consultation which found the service to be in least demand for the Cheviot Road part of its route as that is also served by No 47 buses.
Research also resulted in the extension of the service to meet demand at Burnfoot and the new Stonefield housing estate.
Mr Paterson said: “I’ve asked several times if it would be possible to bring back the bus service that my constituents used to have along Cheviot Road and down Bright Street, along Myerslaw Green and down Beaconsfield Terrace.
“The withdrawal of this service is causing a lot of problems, particularly to my elderly constituents, who say they miss it terribly and feel stranded without it.”
Mr Paterson has also written to Scottish Borders Council passenger transport bosses urging them to consider increasing the frequency of services in the town.
Claire Lark, operations manager at Perryman’s Buses, said: “The success of the Hawick town bus service is based on its reliability and customer usage. Therefore, it is our main priority to ensure we deliver a reliable bus service which meets the travel requirements of our customers.
“As a company, we have demonstrated our commitment to listening to the needs of our customers and, where possible, have extended and amended the route.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to serve all areas, especially in places where there is little to no demand.
“This would require additional resources which would not be commercially viable at this time.
“We have worked closely with officials at Scottish Borders Council over areas where service H1/H2 no longer operates, such as Cheviot Road and Bright Street, and we have been assured they are served by Scottish Borders Council’s community bus.”
Another company spokeswoman added that analysis of bus usage found that just one customer regularly boarded the H1/H2 bus a few times a week in Bright Street, and by removing Bright Street, the company was able to serve the new housing estate at Stonefield.
Meanwhile, Perryman’s has joined forces with Bus Users Scotland for a drop-in session to be staged next Wednesday, from 5pm to 8pm, at Burnfood Community Hub.
It will enable passengers to discuss bus services in Hawick with Borders Buses and Scottish Borders Council.
The public are invited to go along and have their say about local bus services.