Popular hospital bus to be added to the timetable

A TRIAL bus running from Hawick to the Borders General Hospital has been so popular it will be permanent.

The Hawick/Selkirk/BGH service was launched in a small Scottish Borders Council-owned bus earlier this year to gauge whether such provision would be viable. But it was heard at a meeting of Teviot and Liddesdale Area Committee this week that the number 71 service is being used by around 30 people every day - and due to its success, the route will be added to the main bus contract.

Speaking in the Town Hall on Tuesday night, the council’s Passenger Transport Manager, Colin Douglas, said: “Hawick to the BGH started small-scale with a council bus and grew a little bit to a dedicated mini-bus operated by Bridge Community Transport, but on some journeys they’ve been turning people away, which points to us adding it to our main bus contract, starting in April.”

Mr Douglas said they plan to combine it with the number 72 Bannerfield to the BGH bus to gaurantee value for money. The meeting also heard that due to the impending four-hour maximum stay in the BGH car park, they also intend to run a late journey back to Hawick so people employed there can travel by bus. “The council thinks there is a need for bus service from Hawick to the BGH”, he added.