A new operator has been recommended to run the 101 / 102 service on behalf of joint funding partners Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), SWestrans and Scottish Borders Council, subject to approval from all three partners.
SPT will consider the recommendation at its Operations Committee on Friday 27 January.
Following procurement negotiations by SPT, it is recommended that Houstons Coaches based in Lockerbie, be awarded a three-year contract (with an optional two-year extention) at a cost of £385,000 per annum.
The Committee Report details the cost of the current temporary contract at £508,000 per annum equivalent, this represents an 86% increase on the preceding contract arrangements with Stagecoach Western, which all funding partners agreed was unsustainable in the long term.
SPT head of bus strategy and delivery Gordon Dickson said: “All funding partners of the 101 / 102 service are delighted to have found a solution to hopefully satisfy the users of this service, subject to all the required approvals from partners.”
There will be some necessary small changes to the service. There will be four return journeys daily from Dumfries to Edinburgh, with a total of 10 return journeys between Bigger and Edinburgh Monday to Saturday and four return journeys on Sundays. This is to help with congestion which impacts sections of the route as you enter / leave Edinburgh. Reducing the number of journeys from 12 to 10 will space journeys out better and allow a little more time to complete the trip.
If approved, the new 101 / 102 service operated by Houstons Coaches would begin on 1 April 2023.