PROTESTORS have gathered in rural Peeblesshire to voice their anger after news that a lifeline bus service will be axed.

Residents of communities including West Linton and Biggar rely on the 101/102 service from Edinburgh to Dumfries, operated by Stagecoach West Scotland.

But the route will be withdrawn when the contract expires in August, unless a satisfactory financial deal can be struck by the Regional Transport Partnership responsible for the service.

On Tuesday evening, at least 130 West Linton protestors gathered outside the Gordon Arms on the A702 as the 6.31pm bus arrived from Edinburgh.

In addition an online petition has collected more than 7,000 signatures in three days.

“For a wee place like this that is phenomenal,” said lead protestor Ian Reid from West Linton. “People who depend on the service and many of them are the most vulnerable in our communities, only found out because a bus driver mentioned it to somebody on the bus on Wednesday last week.”

Peeblesshire News: Protestors in West Linton as a 102 bus arrived. Photo: Mark Davey.Protestors in West Linton as a 102 bus arrived. Photo: Mark Davey.

A young mum, who preferred not to give her name, said: “I had to stop driving last year for medical reasons and am dependent on this bus to take my children to hospital appointments.”

One group which depends on the service is the Steiner Garvald Community.

Many of its members are unable to drive for medical reasons and Garvald staff also rely on the bus.

Graham Stevenson, who lives in the Garvald community, said: “It will be a disaster if our buses are taken away.”

Doreen Graham, of Broughton, said: "There are some really serious implications to our community if the service is cancelled and people living in Carlops without a car will not be able to access our health centre or post office.

"It feels as if rural communities are being severely disadvantaged and at this end of the Borders we do not have the option of a rail service."

Peeblesshire News: Protestors in Biggar. Photo: Helen BarringtonProtestors in Biggar. Photo: Helen Barrington

The service is operated on behalf of a number of local authorities and regional transport partnerships, including Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Midlothian Council, Strathclyde Partnership Transport (SPT) and SWestrans.

The bodies involved are in discussions and have said they want to find a solution.

All three Tweeddale West councillors – Drummond Begg, Viv Thomson and Eric Small – joined the protest.

Mr Begg said: “This is a lifeline service, equivalent to ferries going to a small island. We might be small communities but we matter.”

The campaign has also garnered the support of Clydesdale, Dumfriesshire and Tweeddale MP David Mundell as the issue affects a number of his constituents.

Peeblesshire News: The community in Biggar protesting against the cancellation of the 101/102 service. Photo: Helen BarringtonThe community in Biggar protesting against the cancellation of the 101/102 service. Photo: Helen Barrington

He said: “It is unacceptable from a public transport and environmental perspective that from August 14 there will be no bus service from Dumfries via the A702 corridor through Biggar and West Linton to Edinburgh.

“There are a number of timetable variations taking in different towns and villages but they are all equally important to the communities concerned.

“These services are vital in allowing people to travel to work, education, medical appointments and many other essential purposes. They also help ensure that smaller rural communities which would otherwise be quite isolated are instead fully connected to neighbouring settlements and larger towns and cities.

“I’m working with local councillors and community campaigners to try to find a resolution.”

Speaking on behalf of all service partners, a spokesperson for the 101/102 service said: “SPT, Scottish Borders Council, and SWestrans, as partners currently fund the 101/102 service and are aware of the concerns regarding its future.

“Following a procurement exercise, the proposed 86 per cent increase in costs to continue the service, as per the 2018 contract specification, from August 2022 are unacceptable and far outweigh the available funding.

“The present funding partners are reviewing all available options, including communication with two additional local authorities which may be affected by displaced bus users should no suitable contract/operator be agreed.”

How will the loss of this service affect you? Get in touch with us at or by calling 01896 758395.