BIKING in the Borders is set for a major boost as a local bus company rolls out its cycle friendly vehicles.

A trial at the start of this year saw three new double-deckers equipped with bike racks start operating between Edinburgh and Peebles.

The Borders Buses vehicles also had comfy leather seats, wireless charging and free WiFi.

Bikers from all over have used the service throughout the summer.

And the pilot was so popular a further 10 new vehicles have been equipped with the same facilities - operating on the X95 route along the A7, the X62 Galashiels-to-Edinburgh-via Peebles route, and the 253 coastal service from Berwick to Edinburgh.

There are currently 10 of the new vehicles now in operation, with another 10 to be added to the network by the end of next February.

And another double-decker has also been refitted with a bike rack.

Colin Craig, managing director at Borders Buses parent company West Coast Motors, told us: “The areas we cover include some of the most popular destinations in the UK for cyclists and our trials on our X62 Galashiels-Peebles-Edinburgh route have proved conclusively pedal power and horsepower do work together.

“We very much see bus as part of the active travel solution and this initiative introduces a fantastic new dimension to sustainable greener travel.

"We recognise cyclists are prepared to ditch their cars for our bike-and-bus combination, all of which is great news in terms of reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, enhancing the environment and encouraging people to jump on a bike and get active.”

Designed to make bus a more attractive greener transport option, the successful bike bus trial focused on encouraging less car journeys, reducing congestion on key routes and creating a sustainable travel solution for first and last mile travel connections.

The new single deck Enviro 200 MMC vehicles, which have been custom built by Falkirk bus builder Alexander Dennis Limited, are equipped with two bike racks each as well as the same features as the trial vehicles.

Transport cabinet secretary Michael Matheson has welcomed the £3.25 million investment by Borders Buses.

He said: “This is a welcome investment from Borders Buses and the West Coast Motors Group, supporting our ambition to build an active nation having recognised and responded to customer demand.

“This innovative step will encourage joined up and sustainable everyday journeys using both bikes and buses – improving our air quality and reducing congestion by creating new reasons to leave the car at home.”

Service X95 currently has 10 bike-friendly vehicles in operation with four bike-friendly double deckers operating on the X62 service.

Borders Buses will add another six bike-friendly vehicles to the Peebles route in February.

Charlie Miller, from vehicle manufacturers Alexander Dennis Limited, added: “Colin and his team at Borders Buses have a reputation for setting the pace.

"This project is another example of the vision and foresight that has established them at the forefront of the passenger transport sector.

"Others will recognise that working in tandem, to use an appropriate expression, bikes and buses can make a significant contribution to a greener, cleaner environment and boost the tourism industry, particularly in rural communities."


4048 - from left Colin Craig, Michael Matheson and Charlie Miller

RHU3417 - the bike bus being enjoyed by cyclists

RHU3244 - the bike racks

RHU3271 and 76 - Service 253 - Scotland's first bike friendly bus route