Search for new operator to fill hole left by First

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A proposed council-run service, aiming to replace routes lost after First Scotland East’s (FSE’s) decision to rationalise operations in Lothian (CBW1030), has been dropped.

Over 200 hundred jobs may be lost and many residents left without services.

Council leader Derek Milligan held talks with First, but was told the decision was irreversible.

East Lothian Council considered setting up its own state-run links to serve isolated villages called East Lothian Transport. However, Cllr Milligan said Midlothian would not follow suit and would instead seek other operators to take over the routes, stating the timescale to set up a network was too short and it would put other bus firms off coming forward.

He said: “We couldn’t do it in the timescale required. The time it would take to arrange this would take us way beyond the point at which services disappear. We would then have nothing to fill the void.”

He said negotiations would open with other transport firms in the next few days.