Lothian Buses subsidiary to take on First’s East Lothian services

East Coast Buses Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lothian Buses Ltd, has launched a “rescue package” to take over  Musselburgh and North Berwick depots from First Scotland East with all staff having the opportunity to be transferred to East Coast Buses under TUPE.

Earlier this year First Scotland East announced it was to close its operations and withdraw services from 14 August 2016. 

East Coast Buses says it will be making significant investment to improve services, including refurbishment works to the Musselburgh garage, increasing the number of vehicles and deploying a new fleet of vehicles.

“This deal will protect key bus services and jobs but the benefits go much further than that,” says Richard Hall, managing director, Lothian Buses. “The residents, workers and businesses of East Lothian rely on buses for their daily lives and well-being. We are pleased to be in a position to take on and continue providing these vital services and be part of the local economy.”

Paul McGowan, managing director, First Scotland East adds: “Throughout our consultation into the future of bus services in East Lothian our priority was to safeguard jobs and protect key services. I am therefore pleased that we have achieved that through the proposed sale to Lothian Buses.

“I’d like to thank all my colleagues in East Lothian for their hard work and loyalty over the years. We will be fully supporting them as they transfer to their new employer. We are proud to have served the East Lothian community and thank passengers for travelling with First Scotland East over the years.”

Scottish Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf also welcomed the agreement: “The announcement Lothian Buses are acquiring First’s operations in East Lothian is welcome news for the communities who have expressed their desire to see these vital bus services maintained.

“Importantly, this also safeguards jobs at the Musselburgh and North Berwick depots and is an excellent outcome from the constructive and open approach taken by both companies and the Council in dealing with this matter.”

From 14 August, East Coast Buses will introduce a new 60-minute timetable for the 107 route (30 minute Mon-Fri peak) for buses to West End, Meadowbank, The Jewel, A1, Haddington and East Linton to Dunbar. This partly replaces the First Service X6/106.

There will also be a new 30-minute timetable for the 124/X24 from Monday to Saturday and 60-minute service on Sundays.