Changes to Lothian Country servicesChanges to Lothian Country network to stabilise network and provide better reliability

The last few years have proved incredibly challenging for our business and like many operators across the bus industry, and indeed many other business sectors, recruitment has become a big challenge. Our recruitment and training teams continue to work behind the scenes in a difficult climate to recruit and train new drivers in order to allow us to deliver reliable services for our customers.

We know that we’ve fallen short on delivering the service you’ve come to rely on and we are truly sorry if you are one of the customers we’ve let down in the last few months.

To ensure that we can stabilise our network and get you back onboard, we have conducted a full review of our network in West Lothian and will introduce a timetable change from Sunday 20 November on Lothian Country in order to improve reliability. A review of fare zones will also take effect from this date.

Timetable information is available below.

If you need any assistance, please reach out on our social media channels – TwitterFacebook and Instagram – or our phone bus information line on 0131 555 6363.

Service 276
Service withdrawn.  The section of route between Livingston Centre, Craigshill, St. John’s Hospital and Ladywell continues to be provided by revised services X27 and X28.  Other areas served by the 276, continue to be have alternative services, provided by other operators.

Service 280

Service withdrawn. The link between Livingston Centre and St. John’s Hospital, and the link between Livingston Centre and Bathgate, continues to be provided by revised services X27 and X28.  Other areas served by the 280, continue to have alternative services, provided by other operators.

Service X18

Revised timetable on all days of the week.  On weekdays, extra time has been built into the peak periods, and additional journeys now operate, to give a 20 minute frequency, at the height of the peak period, better reflecting customer demand.  Some lightly used journeys, at the fringes of each day are withdrawn.  

Service X27  

Revised route and timetable.  Will operate as now between Edinburgh city centre and Mid Calder.  It will then follow the route of service X28 via Dedridge East, Livingston Centre, Craigshill, St. John’s Hospital, Ladywell, Knightsridge, Deans North, Tesco Distribution Centre, Boghall, Bathgate town centre to Bathgate Morrisons.

The timetable is coordinated with service X28 to provide a 20 minute, Monday to Saturday, daytime frequency on the corridor between Bathgate, St. John’s Hospital, Livingston Centre and Edinburgh.  The section of route between Livingston Centre, Eliburn, Seafield, Blackburn and Whitburn, continue to have alternative services, provided by other operators.

Service X28
Revised timetable.  No change to route, but will coordinate with revised service X27, to provide a combined 20 minute frequency on the Bathgate, St. John’s Hospital, Livingston Centre to Edinburgh corridor.

Service 43
Revised timetable on all days of the week.  On weekdays, extra time has been built into the peak periods, to aid reliability.  On Sunday, the daytime frequency is increased from every 30 minutes to every 20 minutes, better reflecting customer demand.  On weekdays and Saturday, the 30 minute evening frequency, is now extended through to 2230 hours, from the city centre.

Service N28
No change.

Service N43
No change.

When will these changes come into effect?

These changes will come into effect on Sunday 20 November 2022.

Why is Lothian Country network being reviewed?

The significant challenge we face with driver recruitment and retention together with recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic have necessitated a full review of Lothian’s network – this work includes our West Lothian operations at Lothian Country.

What is the outcome of the review?

The changes that we will implement are designed to stabilise our Lothian Country network – to try to ensure financial viability and maintain operational reliability. 

Do West Lothian Council own Lothiancountry?  

Lothian is a commercially run ALEO (Arm’s Length External Organisation) which means we are local authority owned but run on a wholly commercial basis. 

If Lothiancountry is part owned by West Lothian Council why are these services being withdrawn? 

While West Lothian Council has a minority share, LC is a wholly commercial operation. These changes are necessary to stabilise the wider LC network.

What does West Lothian Council get for its minority shareholding?  

While West Lothian Council has a minority share, LC is a wholly commercial operation. This ownership structure allows us to re-invest any profits in our staff, our fleet and maintain value for money fares. 

Are you still committed to operating Lothian Country?

Yes absolutely. We remain fully committed to making our operation in West Lothian financially sustainable and operationally reliable.  This refocusing of our network allows us the opportunity to concentrate our efforts on providing a better, more reliable service for customers on our core corridors.

What do you mean by core corridors?

Passenger demand on the arterial routes has seen organic growth on Service X18 and X27/X28.  We will therefore improve the frequency of Service X18 and the timetabling of Service X27/28 between Livingston and Bathgate to improve reliability for our customers.

Why are Service 276 and Services 280 being withdrawn – the buses seem busy at times?

All changes to our network are considered, in full, after the analysis of all available data. We understand that some journeys can appear busy but unfortunately over the course of a full day or week of operation, passenger volumes do not reach levels which can sustain a commercially viable service.  

What about customers who currently use Service 276 and Service 280?  

All the areas that services are being withdrawn from, with the exception of a small section in Dedridge West (at Talisman Rise) which has very low passenger demand, continue to have access to alternative public transport providers.

What about customers in Dedridge West (Talisman Rise)?

Lothian Country will no longer serve this area – despite our best efforts, unfortunately passenger demand is at too low a level to sustain a commercial service.

Will these changes help to improve operational reliability?

We still face significant challenge brought about by a difficult recruitment market but we are doing everything that we can, and we hope that by making these changes we can improve overall operational reliability.

What about those who need to travel from Whitburn to St John’s Hospital? 

There are a number of different options available for customers: 

1. We continue to operate service X18 from Whitburn where a change of bus can be made at Bathgate to services X27/X28. Our 5x/day and 20x/day m-ticket bundles represent best value for money if changing buses. 

2. McGill’s Scotland East operate a direct service 26 between Whitburn and St John’s Hospital or alternatively service X22 stops at the rear of the hospital on Howden South Road.  

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