101/102 trained Houston operator promises to provide more personalized service

In July last year, the West Tweeddale Road was threatened with an axe.

But the route was saved after a campaign coordinated by the Stand Up for Our Buses campaign, which collected 10,000 signatures and later conducted an online survey of commuters.

As a small operation with 40 drivers on all of its routes, the family run Houston Coaches, of Lockerbie, promises to deliver a more personal service.

The contract is currently for three years and is known as a three plus two contract – which means two years can be added.

“We will start with our existing buses but we ordered three new MCV Volvo buses at the end of May,” a Houston spokesperson said Tuesday.

“The road is a big job for us and hopefully we can deliver. People with us will get more of a one-to-one and we love talking to people but you can do 100 things right and if you do one thing wrong it will be remembered.

“Three Stagecoach drivers are transferring TUPEing (Employment Protection) pledges to us and another former driver is set to join.

“One point is to transport more dead bodies on the Dumfries buses.”

At a West Linton Community Council (WLCC) meeting on Monday night, members asked if the service might include a later bus than the current schedule on a Friday or Saturday night.

A company spokesperson said the city of Houston wants to get its services up and running before committing to anything additional.

They said, “The late bus has to be commercially viable because it won’t be subsidized.

“You would need at least 20 to 30 people traveling reasonably regularly from Bigger or West Linton to Edinburgh.

“We will work according to the schedule we have available but we can adjust it later.”

WLCC Chairman Mark McDavid said, “Can we get a ‘school report’ every quarter to see how the bus is going?”

WLCC members have agreed to make serving 101/102 a permanent item on its agenda.

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