PROTESTORS have taken “the bull by the horns” in their fight to secure the long-term future of a threatened Tweeddale bus service.

A delay in the availability of official passenger number figures, on the 101/102 Dumfries to Edinburgh route, has led to West Linton parents creating their own online form.

Recently, the community campaign ‘Stand Up for our Buses’ posted details on its Facebook page of efforts to find out the actual numbers of people using the service.

That Stagecoach route was threatened with closure from August 14 but was saved, until March next year, by a huge campaign and protests.

Stand up for our Buses lead campaigner Ian Reid said: “We do not have a lot of time to get a result.

“Bus use is certainly up since the July/August protests and it is reported that some services have standing room only.

“We are constantly trying to promote and encourage bus use.”

Mr Reid added: “Currently the online form covers journey from Crawford to Edinburgh and back.”

The form, which can be found at: asks for date, time and direction of travel.

A message on the group’s Facebook page states: “Help – volunteer ‘passenger number collectors’ wanted!

“While we still await seeing official data for passengers numbers and patterns for the 101/2 bus service, some West Linton parents took the bull by the horns and devised a simple-to-use online form.

“Passengers can now quickly submit basic details about the number of passengers on any given 101/2 bus, on their smartphone.

“The form is completely anonymous and the figures submitted will be stored in a Google database.

“The more passengers completing and submitting the online form each day the better.

“Ideally we’ll quickly reach a stage where at least one passenger on every journey has done so.

“Where the passenger got on the bus, the number boarding, the approximate numbers of passengers, any unable to board and any further notes.”

As reported in the Peeblesshire News, there is pressure at many levels to ensure the long-term future of the route.

The three Tweeddale West councillors, Eric Small, Viv Thomson and Drummond Begg, have put political differences aside to campaign and attend meetings.

On Monday evening, the chairman of West Linton Community Council, Mark McDavid, suggested that Stand Up for our Buses might do the best job of tying together all the groups trying to save the 101/102.

Community council member Doug Veitch said: “It is up to us to protect the people who have no voices.”

Mr Begg said: “The 101/102 service has been raised at full Scottish Borders Council and with the director of infrastructure and environment, John Curry.

“We have got to do our damnedest to protect the route and we have till January to do that.”

Mr Begg added there are three current threats to public transport: withdrawal of COVID support; the cost of fuel; and the availability of skilled drivers.

“Not only do we need this service, we also need to link east and west with Peebles, Broughton and Skirling,” added Mr Begg.