Borders Council could be about to scrap the bus service to Denholm, Jedburgh and Kelso – forcing passengers into 40 mile detours.
On the day the Hawick News learned of the move, SBC issued a press statement detailing plans to improve “connectivity” centred on the Tweedbank rail link but makes no mention of Hawick.
And unless SBC comes up with the cash to continue subsidising the route, travellers making for Jedburgh could now face the extended journey via Galashiels from mid-August.
Councillor Watson McAteer, the only Hawick member at Monday’s meeting which was attended by only three SBC councillors, said: “At a meeting on Monday morning the uncertain future of the 120 bus connecting Hawick with Denholm, Jedburgh and Kelso was discussed. Officials explained that an extension to the heavily-subsidised service would come to an end in August and that unless some funding could be found, the service would stop. The net result would mean that those wishing to travel from Hawick to Jedburgh or Kelso and visa versa would require to use the X95 service to Galashiels where they would change to the appropriate route.”
He added: “It’s absolutely incredible that anyone would think it reasonable for travellers to endure an additional 30 miles and at least an extra hour or more to travel such a relatively short distance. Anyone using the existing service to reach their work will be at serious risk of losing their livelihood. This message is being delivered at the same time as the council is telling the rest of the Borders that they have agreed to the extension of some bus services in the Scottish Borders to improve transport connectivity in conjunction with the opening of the Borders Railway in September.”
A council spokesperson said: ““The current contract with First to provide service 120 between Hawick, Jedburgh and Kelso ends on Saturday, August 15.
“Prices covering a number of timetable options as part of a new contract have been received from operators and these are presently being considered. Any new contract would commence on Monday, August 17.”