South Scotland

Plan for five-fold rise in Galashiels bus station charges

Rail interchange Image copyright Other

A "departure charge" levied on buses using the new Galashiels transport interchange could increase five-fold.

Operators using the old Stirling Street bus station were charged 35p per vehicle before its closure in 2013.

Councillors in the Borders had been asked to approve plans to increase the charge to use the £5.2m transport hub to £1.75 per vehicle.

However, a report outlining the proposals was withdrawn at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.

It will now be discussed at a later date.

The transport interchange has been designed to link the bus service with the new Borders Railway.

Scottish Borders councillors were told that the fee should increase to £2.68 (excluding VAT) to cover the running costs of the facility.

However, that would make it the most expensive departure charge in the country and officers have recommended that the local authority subsidise the charge.

They have warned that an excessive fee may "compromise the financial viability" of some of the routes through the station.

In a report to the council, officers have also raised fears that bus operators may boycott the transport interchange over the increased departure charge.

"This would leave the main sustainable access link to the Borders Railway fragmented and cause negative public relations," they said.

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