FUNDING partners across the “lifeline” 101/102 bus route continue to hold talks to keep it operating beyond March 2023.

Recently, more than 8,000 people who signed a petition helped to save the service which was threatened with termination from last week.

The buses run from Dumfries, via Biggar and West Linton, to Edinburgh with funding partners including SWestrans, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT).

Tweeddale West councillor Viv Thomson (SNP) told a recent meeting of West Linton Community Council (WLCC) that there was a “Borders centric meeting,” with SBC officers on Tuesday (August 16) as moves continue to find a permanent solution to funding the route.

WLCC member Ann Cumber said that the situation would be best organised by the Scottish Government taking over the funding so that it was not “vulnerable” due to being funded by so many partners.

“We are still in an emergency as I see it,” said WLCC member Tim Brian. “We are going to have very little time to have a consultation and have the councils digest it.”

It was suggested that any consultation would take six weeks and that talks could be held up for three weeks by Christmas.

SBC started a Scottish Borders bus transport review, by the public filling in an online survey, on June 16.

That review covers the whole region without focusing on specific services.

As reported in the Peeblesshire News, councillor Jenny Linehan, executive member for environment & transport said: “Improving the range of public transport on offer to all Borderers is a key strategic priority for the council and this public survey is a crucial step in reassessing our services.

“By completing the online form and telling us your travel habits, you will help give us a greater understanding of how our public transport services are used across our many towns and villages.”

SPT is also running an online consultation questionnaire which will take views until Friday, October 28.

A statement on the SPT website says: “SPT is in the process of producing a new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) for the west of Scotland.

“This will replace the current strategy.

“The new RTS will set out policies to guide decision-making on transport by SPT and partners in the region, to deliver a new vision for transport for the Strathclyde area.”

An SPT spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with partner organisations and local councillors about how best to engage with the local communities involved.”

At the August meeting of Upper Tweed Community Council’s meeting, member Tess Goodwin put herself forward to represent Broughton in any discussions about the 101/102.

Tweeddale West councillors Eric Small, Viv Thomson and Drummond Begg, who have put aside political differences, issued a joint statement this week which said: “Following the meeting on August 16, with the SBC transport officer, there remain a number of high level issues to be addressed and a further meeting is planned for Wednesday with all partners involved.

“We will be having a meeting with the SBC transport team following that and hope to be in a better position to update on this fluid situation at that time.”

Ms Cumber added: “There are so many councils across the 101 route, it only takes one to pull out to stop it working.”