The village of Westfield has gained daily bus service to Armadale three years after losing its last commercial bus link.
Figures using the demand response Taxibus service have persuaded West Lothian Council transport officers that it would be viable to extend the service from Armadale/Whitburn town to serve Westfield, some four miles from Armadale, with a link to Avonbridge during peak hours improving public transport in the area.
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The council had already decided to extend its contracts on subsidized bus services until 2023 to help public transport recover from the pandemic.
Historically, Westfield was served by the 29 bus service, which provided a transport link to Armadale and Bathgate as well as a cross-border link to Falkirk.
The peak hour service was provided on a commercial basis by First Bus Monday to Saturday, with West Lothian Council and Falkirk Council providing a grant to operate the service in the evenings and on Sundays.
In October 2019, First Bus stopped commercial service within the Falkirk council area boundaries, leaving Westfield without bus service for most of the day.
West Lothian has contracted the on-demand Taxibus service to operate between Westfield and Armadale during the peak period which would continue the transport link and allow passengers to connect with their nearest amenities and other bus services for continue their journey.
Although the Taxibus maintained a link to vital services, it was recognized that this temporary solution was not the norm, but the drop in travel with the onset of the pandemic further delayed the introduction of a service. regular bus.
Public Transport Director Nicola Gill told a council executive meeting that the new LBS 6 linked service can be restored during peak hours with the on-demand service available in the evenings and on Sundays .
Local Labor Councilor Andrew McGuire told the meeting: ‘I would like to thank Nicola and his team for their hard work during this prolonged period, particularly with the pandemic. It is fantastic to see a bus route reappear at Westfield and I hope it will continue for a very long time.”
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Local Independent Councilor Stuart Borrowman said: “I am delighted that this proposal has finally reached the starting line, although it has taken much longer than I had hoped and expected.
“Bus services are much thinner in the field than before and links to Linlithgow and a direct connection to Bathgate would have been ideal, but I’m delighted we now have a solid basic service to Westfield and adjoining hamlets. ”
The current Taxibus service in Westfield will now be available in the evenings and on Sundays from April 1, when the new bus service – operated by SD Travel – begins.
Cathy Muldoon, Executive Adviser for Development and Transport, added: “This is a positive update to bus contracts in West Lothian and I’m sure it will be welcomed by the Westfield community. .”