Representatives of Lothian Buses visited the Juniper Green Community Council meeting at the end of February. There was a "full and frank exchange" and LRT helpfully gave us written replies to the comments made.
Resident 1 explains: “Re the 33 – the odd missing bus on the Baberton loop is frustrating on this service occurring as it does when 2 buses arrive at Wester Hailes at a similar time. Then, to catch up one of the buses turns at this point. The knock on is that there is only one bus on the Baberton loop over a 40-60 minute period.”
Unfortunately, despite rigorous efforts from our Drivers and Control Room Team, it is inevitable that some buses will run late. This is primarily because, unlike the railways, we do not control the track on which we run. We schedule services based on the average time it takes to travel from point-to-point along the route. While these timings will be adequate for the majority of buses on most days, the scheduling process cannot take into account delays caused by temporary obstructions such as roadworks, badly parked vehicles, accidents and so on. When buses encounter delays or unexpected congestion, there may be occasions when a bus which has been delayed will be caught up by the next bus operating on the service, which has not experienced the same delay. In these circumstances, our Controllers will intervene to regulate the service to ensure that the delayed bus will not commence its next journey late. In the case of Service 33, if two buses arrive at Westburn at the same time, if we allowed both buses to serve the Baberton loop, then both buses would end up running together all the way from Baberton to Gorebridge, and inconveniencing all the passengers along the route who may have to wait 30-minutes or more, only for two buses to turn-up at the same time. Instead, we turn the late running bus short at Westburn, so that only a very small number of passengers waiting on the Baberton loop are inconvenienced by the delay. This said, we are determined to ensure that we operate a reliable service wherever it is within our powers to do so. In order to enhance reliability on Service 33, we will be introducing a revised timetable on the route from the 24th March 2013. This revision will see us introducing an additional bus to the service, at considerable extra cost, but this bus will allow us to improve running times across the route, as well as provide additional ‘recovery’ time for buses terminating at Gorebridge. Under normal conditions, this should ensure that all buses depart from Gorebridge on time, resulting in less buses having to be turned-short on arrival at the Baberton-end of the route. Once the new timetable is implemented, we will be continuing to monitor reliability on the service.
Resident 2 adds: “I do not use the 33 bus service often, only because of the tiresome journey it has to make going through westerhailes, and stopping at Longstone to change over driver. This seems to take an age. I would rather walk up to Juniper Green and wait for a 44 to go into town. I find it so much quicker. Returning from the town is about the only time I use the 33. I have not had a problem there."
Unfortunately, in order to maximise operational efficiency, and provide the best possible value-for-money service, we have to carry out driver changeovers at the closest point to the operating Garage. Due to the nature of the Service 33 route, it is inevitable that all buses operating on the route will require drivers to changeover either on their way to Baberton or on the way to Gorebridge as they pass Longstone Garage. Our sophisticated scheduling software does work on the basis of having as few driver changeovers as possible on every route, not just the 33, and with this being the case, it would be impossible for us to reduce this number still further.
Resident 3 states: “Generally the service 44 keeps to schedule leaving JG into town unless there are additional roadworks ie over and above the usual tramworks.However, the journey inwards is very slow especially the diversion round Haymarket,which I fear will be permanent once the trams ever start. The traffic lights to get on to the inner by pass are heavily biased against the buses and at off peak times could be better timed. Also the lights along Princes Street are biased against buses travelling east ,especially at Charlotte St and Frederick St. My main complaint is that the service 44 coming from town to here is very erratic. It is supposed to be about ten minutes yet frequently the gap signalled on the boards at the stops can show 20 and more mins between buses then they come at once .. I do not travel at peak times yet the buses I am on are frequently very busy thus stop at every stop and for some reason when we get to about Kingknowe or Slateford we see another 44 passing us almost empty. This is very frustrating I am convinced that the problem is that the route is too long with so much potential for delays . Which other LB services do 14 or 15 miles through the busiest parts of town? No wonder they cannot keep to schedule. There is no reason why the ONLY SERVICE we can take has to run from Balerno to East Lothian . It is not true, as LB management claims ,that there is no alternative . With a bit of management attention and thought why could buses from both termini not do a loop somewhere in town and return outwards ? This point needs to be emphasised to management and they need to take it on board. Residents out here are really fed up with the slow and very erratic 44 service.”
With regards to the traffic light sequencing at the junction of Morrison Link and the West Approach Road, I have passed these comments on to our Operations Department who will liaise with the City of Edinburgh Council Transportation Department. There is little more we can do in this respect. In terms of the reliability of the service, this is influenced by a number of factors. While we have taken all possible steps to ensure that the timetable for Service 44 is robust and reliable, there will always be a small number of occasions where buses will run late. This is primarily down to the fact that unlike the railways, we do not control the track on which we run, and traffic congestion and delays can occur anywhere on the network of roads across the City at any time. It would not make any material difference if the route being considered was 5-miles long or 15-miles long – the factors influencing reliability, which are outwith our control are still the same. Thus, on shorter routes such as the 23, there will still be occasions where buses will operate behind schedule. A badly parked car or a delivery van can impede the progress of a particular bus travelling along a route, but by the time the next bus comes along the same section of road, the obstruction may have gone, allowing this bus to continue without losing any time. The result of this is that the bus which was not delayed by the obstruction will start to catch up with the bus that was delayed, so that the gap between these two buses will be shorter than 10-minutes. Conversely, the gap between the bus that was operating 10-minutes earlier than the bus which encountered the obstruction and the, now late running bus, will be greater than 10-minutes and passengers will end-up waiting for longer than anticipated at stops after the delay point. A further issue which inhibits our ability to operate a reliable service is roadworks. In recent months, Service 44 has been subject to sporadic delays at various points along the route. For example, the ongoing gas mains replacement along Lanark Road has caused delays, as well as the long-term roadworks at Gillespie Crossroads in the second half of 2012. Currently, roadworks at Jock’s Lodge, by Meadowbank have been causing delays to buses heading east. These delays can be significant at peak periods, and the works in this location are scheduled to last for 6 weeks. In the City Centre, the closure of York Place means that a significant volume of additional traffic has to use Leith Street as an alternative. This additional traffic is having an adverse affect on journey times and delays to buses can be lengthy, depending on the time of day. As an example, last Thursday evening we tracked a bus on Service 12 which was travelling towards the Gyle during the evening peak period. The scheduled journey time from Elm Row to Haymarket is 18-minutes; however on this particular evening the bus took 40-minutes to navigate Leith Street, and the Shandwick Place diversion. As I hope you will understand, there is no way that we can take these extreme delays into account as part of the scheduling process, except for providing sufficient recovery time at each end of the route. Some food for thought; if you were asked to leave Balerno Terminus in your car at 8am every day, and travel via Lanark Road to the foot of Lothian Road, how many times would the journey take exactly the same amount of time? I can guarantee that each day would give a different result, yet there is an expectation on Lothian Buses to be able to deliver just that for every journey on every day. Unfortunately, it is an impossibility that we could ever achieve running times that could be so precise for every day of the year. During the current City Centre roadworks, we have been utilising spare buses and drivers to cover for late running services, however, we only have a finite amount of spare resources at our fingertips, and once these spare buses are in use across the network, we have little option but to allow other late running buses to continue their journeys to ensure that we provide sufficient capacity across the network to cater for passenger demand. As 2013 progresses, the volume of City Centre roadworks should dissipate slightly, and we are confident that this will have a further positive impact on the reliability of the bus network. In the last year, we have undertaken a significant upgrade to our Central Control Room, which now allows us to have more Controllers on duty at busy times. With all our buses now fitted with GPS technology, Controllers can pin-point the location of every bus across the City, and when buses begin to bunch together or are delayed for whatever reason, the Controllers can intervene to ‘recover’ the headway on the route. In the near future, the City of Edinburgh Council Urban Traffic Control Team (UTC) will also be moving into our central Control Room in Annandale Street. This should bring further benefits to bus passengers as our Controllers will be sitting in the same room as the people who can control the phasing of traffic lights. Thus, if an incident occurs at a particular location which leads to delays for buses, our Controllers can ask the UTC team can intervene in the sequencing of traffic lights to clear the blockage and to get buses moving again. In terms of the route structure for Service 44, the primary reason for the route operating cross-city is to avoid any unnecessary increase in the volume of buses operating through the heart of the City Centre, where congestion is at its worst. If we were to split Service 44 into two sections, in order to avoid any increase in the number of bus movements through the City Centre, we would have to terminate the Balerno buses at Haymarket, and the buses coming from East Lothian at St. Andrew Square. The drawback is that for passengers living along the Lanark Road, the bus service would not penetrate the heart of the City Centre. Our passenger analysis shows that stopping buses short of the City Centre would be an inconvenience for the majority of passengers using the route. The alternative is to operate Balerno buses as far as St Andrew Square and buses coming from East Lothian, to Haymarket, but this would lead to a doubling of the number of buses movements on Princes Street in both directions, which would increase congestion and delays for all buses operating through the City Centre. Given the current pressure for buses to be removed from Princes Street, this is not an option that we would practically consider. Additionally, if this form of route design were to be adopted for Service 44, we would require more buses to cover the two sides of the route which would significantly increase our cost base, and likely lead to fares increases to off-set these costs. In both options, the ability for passengers to make cross-city journeys on one fare would also be inhibited, and people would have to change buses somewhere in the City. This would increase journey times and ultimately would lead to a reduction in passenger numbers as people found alternative ways to make their journeys quicker. Again, a reduction in revenues would force us to consider fares levels to ensure the long term viability of the bus network.
Resident 3 added when we met in the street: “problems of busy buses 44 from the east seem to bunch up especially around 4pm onwards through the rush hour.”
Resident 4 complains: “On Thursday 14th February I waited at Haymarket from 4.25pm for 20 minutes for the 44. Not surprisingly, when it arrived it was so packed that people were standing on the stairs. On Friday 15th February I waited in Princes Street,opposite BHS, from 3.40pm for approximately 17minutes.By the time the bus had reached the West End it too was very crowded. When we reached my stop at Foulis Crescent another bus pulled up behind us.
In terms of the reliability of the service, I have already outlined the factors which cause buses to bunch together from time to time. As Resident 4 points out, the bunching can take place at different times of the day, depending on the factors involved in causing the delays to buses. Were we to be aware of the same buses consistently bunching then we could take corrective action in the scheduling process to eliminate this, but delays and congestion are never the same two days in a row. Thus, the best we can achieve is to schedule buses based on the average time it takes to travel along a route. With regards to the passenger loadings on buses, from the 24th March we will be introducing an additional morning and afternoon journey on Service X44, as well as introducing more buses on to Service 4 during the day on Mondays to Fridays, which should take some of the shorter-distance passengers currently using Service 44 between the City Centre and Slateford. This should leave more room of Service 44 buses for longer distance passengers.
The 44 service used to be an excellent one but has deteriorated dramatically in the last few months,particularly in the late afternoon. I have heard many people complain and have read correspondence in the C&B News regarding this . Could LRT give some explanation,other than citing the withdrawal of the First Bus and/or the traffic?”
Please refer to explanations provided above.
Resident 5 records: “We went into town today (8/12/2012) at 11.30. The bus was on time, but full from Slateford Road and unable to pick up passengers at some stops in Gorgie. The return bus at 15.50 was full from Princes St and over-full from Haymarket. A fellow passenger who travels in the rush hour told us that buses are frequently unable to pick up passengers between Haymarket ant Slateford. This appears to be simply a shortage of buses/seats at peak periods when the FirstBus would in past years have been busy as well.”
From 24th March we will be introducing an additional morning and afternoon journey on Service X44, as well as introducing more buses on to Service 4 during the day on Mondays to Fridays, which should take some of the shorter-distance passengers currently using Service 44 between the City Centre and Slateford. This additional capacity will help to ensure that we are meeting levels of passenger demand.
Resident 6 emails as follows: “at the next JGCC meeting, I wonder of he/she could be asked about the 44 evening service. I have in mind, in particular, buses from town on Friday and Saturday. I have frequent occasion to get a 44 on Saturday evening from Slateford Rd (at the Maltings) to JG, due at Slateford Station at 1904. This is allegedly a 15-minute frequency, invariably packed and invariably late. From observation, I think the same applies to all the “services” between 1700 and 2000 on both Fridays and Saturdays, and it doesn`t seem to have occurred to anybody at LB that, between those hours on those days, more people than usual are coming back from shopping, football - and even work, plus people making their way to the Corn Exchange for the numerous gigs there. I`d be interested to hear their comments, if there is an opportunity to raise the point.”
Feedback from other passengers in recent months has already highlighted that people would like to see some additional early evening buses. Taking this on board, we will be introducing more early evening buses on Mondays to Saturdays as part of the revised timetable for Service 44 which is being introduced from the 24th March. The new timetables should be available on our website approximately 2-weeks prior to the change.
Resident 7 observes: “Bus 44 has such a long journey from east to west ending on a road, A70, which has no other bus service beyond the Gillespie crossroads, perhaps there is some merit in a number of buses at rush hour leaving from town going west.”
Service X44 commences from the City Centre, and from the 25th March, an extra morning and evening journey is being added to give passengers more choice for their journey, while increasing the available number of seats at busy times.
Resident 8 says on behalf of his undergraduate son who would be travelling from JG to Edinburgh University in town and back: “a) The 45 - Bustracker is not always accurate; - the bus sometimes doesn't turn up (even if on Bustracker) which can mean 1 hour between buses; - it is often very busy (more so than the 44) as it is normally just a single decker.
If more specific details of the Bustracker issue is provided to us, we can investigate the problem and provide a more comprehensive reply. We have not received any other complaints from passengers where a bus on Service 45 has failed to turn-up. I know of one occasion where a mechanical defect on a bus caused a delay of 20-minutes while a replacement bus was ferried out to the driver and this undoubtedly caused a significant gap in the service. Again, if we can be provided with specific dates and times, we can give a more comprehensive reply as to why there was a delay to the service. Our passenger analysis shows that for the vast majority of tips on Service 45, a single deck bus has sufficient capacity to cater for the passenger demand. There have been a small number of instances where very busy buses have been unable to uplift all intending passengers, but this tends to be an issue at the start of the academic year when most students are trying to be on campus for 9am. After this initial period, passenger numbers tend to spread-out throughout the morning across other journeys, which means that there is normally sufficient capacity on the buses arriving at Riccarton prior to 9am. We will continue to monitor passenger loadings on Service 45 going forward, and if more passengers begin using the service, to the point where additional capacity is required, we will of course look for a way to provide this, in the most cost-effective way.
b) Midweek nightservice to JG/Currie Our nearest midweek night service is either Colinton or Sighthill, which means a long walk if a student has to work late, or wants to socialise late. My son needs access to heavily used recording equipment as a music student and it's not unusual to work into the night. He also had a job in a night club which he had to give up due to the non-existence of a night bus into this area during the week. I can accept that it is not cost-effective to reinstate the 44 night bus, but believe that it would benefit everybody if the weekday N34 were rerouted via Juniper Green and Currie, either in both directions or just on the return journey into town.”
We are currently in the process of undertaking a review of our Night Bus network, and are hoping to make some changes for the Summers season in early July 2013. As part of this review, we will look at potential ways of providing buses on the Lanark Road corridor. However, at this stage I do not want to provide an assurance that we will be able to introduce a full 24-hour service once again, as our previous experience of operating the N44 during the week was that passenger numbers fell well-short of the required number in order to justify the service on a fully commercial basis. In respect of Service N34, we are reluctant to alter the routing on journeys back to the City Centre for two main reasons. Firstly, the route is now well established on the Sighthill corridor and is used by passengers who would not be supportive of having their journeys significantly lengthened as a result of the introduction of a long one-way loop via Currie and Juniper Green – I cite those currently using the N34 from Longstone Village for journeys towards the City Centre as an example of people who would be significantly inconvenienced. Secondly, when designing the route network, we try to make the structure as simple as possible for people to understand – this is what gives people the confidence to use the bus. Therefore, in terms of the Night Bus network, wherever possible, we try to match the Night Bus route to the regular daytime route. If we had to try and explain to people that in the case of the N34 they would have to board the bus on the illogical ‘wrong’ side of the road for journeys towards the City, the potential for confusion is such that we would undoubtedly switch people off from using the service. Likewise, for the residents of Currie and Juniper Green, who are not used to using the daytime version of the 34, many would not realise that the N34 is actually the bus that would take them home or to work in the early morning.
Resident 9 suggests: “1. I strongly believe based on personal observation of the X44 service morning and evening there would be sufficient interest in at least one additional service from Balerno in the morning and from the City in the evening. As stated in an earlier response, an additional journey will be introduced in the morning and evening from the 24th March 2013. 2. I consider the X44 service should follow the route of the original X44, ie via Haymarket, thus providing an integrated service with anyone travelling by train to and from Haymarket. The regular Service 44 provides a bus at least every 10-minutes from Lanark Road to Haymarket. One of the main selling-points of the current X44 route is that it takes the quickest route to the heart of the City Centre, using the greenways on the West Approach Road. It also provides direct links to the Exchange area, which in the longer term, Service 44 will not provide once Shandwick Place re-opens to buses. Since the introduction of the X44 in June last year, we have not had any other feedback from passengers asking for the service to be re-routed via Haymarket. 3. The original X44 service did not serve any stops between Haymarket and Juniper Green and consider this should be the way forward with perhaps the addition of one stop at Gillespie CrossRoads and that at Chesser Avenue be retained. Both am and pm the stop at Shandon is served by service 4, 34 and 35 and question why the X44 serves this stop. Service X44 serves the Shandon stop in order for passengers from the Currie/Balerno/Juniper Green area to interchange onto Service 38 for onwards travel towards Morningside and the Royal Infirmary. Likewise, the stop at Slateford Station is provided to facilitate interchange onto Services for Sighthill Colleges or the Edinburgh Park/Gyle area (Services 34 & 35).
At the current time, we have no plans to make any alterations to the limited stops used by Service X44. 5. During the period between say 4:30pm and 5:30pm I consider there should be several 44 services starting from Waterloo Place as per some of the 44 services running on Sundays. In order to provide additional buses at peak times, operating only between the City Centre and Balerno, additional buses/drivers would be required, which would significantly increase the cost of operation of the route. These additional costs could only be justified if passenger demand increased significantly such that the additional passenger revenues would cover these increased costs. At the current time, we have concluded that the introduction of one additional X44 journey, as well as extra buses on Service 4, should provide sufficient capacity to cater for current levels of passenger demand. Going forward, we will continue to monitor passenger loadings, and if we can generate passengers growth using the routes in the longer term, we will of course look for ways to provide additional buses. 6. While it is unlikely to be given serious consideration, I believe there would be reasonable demand for service 45 to run on Saturdays, once hourly, allowing those wishing to get to Colinton, Bruntsfield and Morningside without having first to go toward the City centre.”
All customer feedback we receive is given serious consideration. At the current time, we are tentatively pleased with the increased passenger numbers now using the extended route of the 45. If we continue to see the levels of passenger growth continue, we will look at further ways to improve the service, and the introduction of a Saturday service may be one of the ways we can attract more people into using the route. While we cannot promise anything in the short term, we will certainly consider this option in the longer term as part of our network planning process. Resident 10 reports: “The 45 bus at 8am is regularly full and has passed me at the bus stop at JG post office on a number of occasions. Nor, does it seem a sensible use of time and resources to make 2 journeys to the Hermiston stop both inward and outward from Heriot-Watt. Passengers travelling west from JG are likely to be going to the university campus so why not take them there, save ten minutes of their time and the additional petrol costs of carrying them via Hermiston. I can’t believe 2 visits to Hermiston each journey are justified.”
For a number of years the financial performance of Service 45 has given us cause for concern. In 2012, we explored a number of options for the 45 which would reduce the costs of operation of the route, such as curtailing the service to operate at peak times only in the morning and evening, to operate only during University term time, or to withdraw the service all together. However, we decided to give the route another chance by re-vamping it and extending it through the City in order to provide new unique links from the east to the west. At the same time, we looked for ways to attract new passengers onto the Service, and this led us to re-routing the service via the Research Park at Heriot Watt. This provided the route with new passengers, and so far, early indications are that we are seeing an increase in the overall number of passengers using the route at the Riccarton-end. While I appreciate that there is a small time penalty for passengers travelling to and from Riccarton Campus, we must encourage as many passengers as possible to use the service, otherwise the long term viability of the route will continue to be under scrutiny. In general, we do not like loops at the end of routes as this generally means that one group of passengers ends up having to sit on a bus while it sits through it’s ‘recovery’ time at a terminus. In the case of the 45, if it only looped through the Park & Ride and Research Park once, passengers boarding at the Campus bus stops would likely end up having to sit on a bus at either the Research Park or the Park & Ride for upwards of 10-minutes or more on every journey. This would definitely turn a significant number of people off from using the service, and again, would jeopardise the long term viability of the route. This being the case, we have no plans to alter the current routing between Currie and Riccarton Campus.
Resident 11 writes: “Bus 45 is such an unreliable service that I often have to catch bus 44 even though it does not take me to my destination in town.”
Prompted by this feedback, we have been undertaking running time analysis on Service 45 to ascertain any areas where adjustments need to be made. Overall, our analysis shows that the timekeeping of the service is satisfactory. However, problems with roadworks along the route at the current time are inhibiting our ability to provide a reliable service. For example, buses have been facing significant delays on Colinton Road in recent weeks, as well as at Jock’s Lodge at Meadowbank. In the City Centre, we are also facing sporadic delays on Leith Street caused by the volume of traffic using this as an alternative route while York Place is closed. In some cases, delays can be significant and while we do our level best to keep buses operating to the schedule, there will be some occasions where buses will run late. We are confident that reliability will improve as the level of roadworks along the route decrease over the next few weeks. However, York Place is likely to be closed for some time, so we will continue to be at the mercy of delays in Leith Street for some time to come. We can only apologise for this and hope that passengers understand the situation and bear with us while the current works are ongoing in the City Centre.
Resident 12 asked:, “As mentioned the other night, I wondered if LRT had considered reinstating the 45 service past Hermiston to Gogarburn? I know this used to happen, and I also know of a number of people from Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno, who only living a few miles away from Gogar if you look at a map, who are keen to have this link. At the moment, I myself who has a monthly pass, have to take 3 buses taking nearly 1 hour to get from Juniper Green to Gogarburn (the 44 to Gillespie Crossroads, the 18 to The Gyle then the 35 to Gogarburn). The 45 going all the way to Gogarburn would cut our journey time by more than half.”
Resident 2 agrees with this view: “Extending the 45 on rush hours seems like a good idea.” Service 45 previously extended at peak times to RBS Gogarburn with financial support from RBS. Unfortunately, passenger numbers were very disappointing, and we took the view, in conjunction with RBS, that it was not longer viable to continue with the extension. Thus, RBS withdrew their funding and the service was curtailed back to Riccarton. Given that the costs involved in this extension would be in excess of £100k per annum, and given our previous experience of passenger numbers using the route, there is no realistic way we could consider this option on a fully commercial basis, as the additional revenues would not cover the increased operating costs of the service. In the current economic climate, it is difficult to see where a source of funding could come from that would enable the route to be re-extended to Gogarburn. … and the final comment from resident 9 adds: “Finally I sometimes doubt if Lothian Buses despite all their claims is prepared to develop services which will actively encourage people to leave their cars at home. One only has to stand at the Currie Post Office stop in a morning to see the steady stream of cars turning down Riccarton Mains Road. Some may well be going to the Hermiston Park and Ride but am quite sure others are heading beyond that. Is there a case for a service that will allow the Gyle and Corstorphine areas to be accessed by public transport?” In previous years, there was an operator (Village Link) who provided a link between Balerno/Currie and The Gyle. Unfortunately the operator withdrew this service a number of years ago due to a lack of passenger demand. Since this time, various services have continued to provide these links, but with financial support from the City of Edinburgh Council. Today, Waverley Travel, with funding, continue to operate one return trip on three days a week to allow people from the Balerno/Currie area to access the Gyle Centre for shopping. Given that the levels of passenger demand are so low, we do not have any confidence that we could start a service from Balerno/Currie/Juniper Green that could operate to the Gyle/Corstorphine on a commercial basis and cover its operating costs. Instead, we do provide interchange opportunities at Gillespie Crossroads from Service 44/45 onto Service 18 and 20 for onward travel to Hermiston Gait and The Gyle. Resident 13 requests: “Buses should always carry the latest timetables for passengers to take.” Wherever possible, where buses are allocated to the same route each day, such as the batch of buses used on Service 44, we do normally carry new timetables in the lead-up to a service change so that people can get easy access to copies without having to come in to the City Centre travel shops. However, on other non-branded routes, it is unlikely that the same buses will be used on the same route from day to day, which makes the process of supplying timetables on all buses more prohibitive in terms of the number of people it would require to go round buses each morning to change over timetable leaflets for the service that the bus was going to be going out on that day. Furthermore, we are now finding that the number of printed timetable leaflets we are issuing is now diminishing as more and more people make use of the online versions available on our website. Additionally, many people now rely on the mobile phone apps which show buses in realtime, so that the requirement to have a printed timetable is greatly reduced. As time goes on, we will be trying to encourage more of our customers to download timetables in the comfort of their own home. If people do still wish a paper timetable and for whatever reason are unable to visit one of our travel shops, if they contact our Customer Services Department, we will be more than happy to post out copies of the required timetables.
And, finally, resident 14 states: “Questions for LRT. A Bus Driver was extremely rude a few months ago on a 44 Bus. I was surprised to find out that unlike Council Staff & Volunteers who have to undergo PVG Disclosure checks if dealing with the Public, I was advised by LRT that Drivers did not have to undergo criminal checks like these as they were not suitable. They underwent some other type of Transport check. I wonder why it is not through the same channels as any other staff? Can he guarantee they don't have Criminal convictions? My complaint was handled by them but I am not confident about who they employ.
All our drivers go through rigorous screening procedures prior to being employed, and once they are employed, they are provided with first class training in our dedicated full-time training School in all aspects of the job. Our Training School is generally regarded as one of the best in the UK bus industry. While some organisations may choose to undertake disclosures for their staff, there is no legal requirement for Lothian Buses to do this for new employees. Legally, only individuals who will be volunteering or working with, and responsible for, children and vulnerable adults, need to be put through the disclosure process. In the case of Lothian Buses, we do not operate any services that are exclusively for home to school transport, therefore we do not require drivers to go through the disclosure process. At the current time, we feel that the checks we do make on new employees are sufficient and to the highest of standards to ensure that we are employing the right people for the job. It is worth noting that on the whole, we receive very few complaints about our drivers, considering the number of passenger journeys that are undertaken on our services on a daily basis. Furthermore, we receive a significant number of commendations from passengers about our drivers, which illustrates that on the whole, the level of customer service we provide on a day to day basis is exceptionally high. Also who is responsible for keeping the area at a Bus stop clean as the one at Slateford station / Asda 248250 is terrible as is the stop at Juniper Green which seems to be a shelter for the Pub smokers not the Passengers.” Bus stop infrastructure is the responsibility of the City of Edinburgh Council, not Lothian Buses. Any complaints should be directed to their Public Transport Department. Ian Bieniowski Commercial Analyst Lothian Buses Plc 55 Annandale Street Edinburgh EH7 4AZ Tel: 0131 475 0143 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org