Bus firm set to sell Borders operation

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Carlisle bus station.
Carlisle bus station.
Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 3:28PM

The bus company which runs the route connecting Carlisle with Edinburgh is set to sell the operation.

First Borders - which runs the X95 route which travels through Longtown, Canonbie and Langholm and on its way to the Scottish capital - has agreed in principle to sell its operations in the region to West Coast Motors, a firm based in Campbelltown, Argyll.

This deal is expected to be completed on March 25 and would also include routes in the Scottish Borders run by First Scotland East.

Paul McGowan, managing director of First Scotland East, said the sale was in reaction to the popularity of the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, which serves many of the areas on the north of the X95's route.

He said: “Despite the focus on services and the hard work of everyone across our business, unfortunately the introduction of the Borders Railway in 2015 has impacted demand for bus travel and our services our becoming increasingly unsustainable.

“I’m pleased we have an agreement in principle to sell the operations to West Coast Motors, a reliable and well established transport company. I'm confident their experience operating in rural areas will be of great benefit to the business.

“The proposed sale does not, in any way, reflect the commitment of our employees in the area who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to local communities. I’d like to thank them for their hard work and loyalty over the years. We will be fully supporting them throughout this process."

A spokeswoman for West Coast Motors said: "We are currently in advanced discussions with First Scotland East regarding the purchase of its operations in the Scottish Borders.

"It would be inappropriate to comment whilst those talks are underway. "Once and if the purchase has been confirmed we will look to engage with staff, customers and other key stakeholders."

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