FEARS have been expressed that residents could become isolated after a section of a popular bus route in Musselburgh is removed.

Lothian Buses is set to alter its no. 30 service from next Sunday (July 14), stating that it was “a minor change”, with Stoneybank Crescent and Monktonhall Terrace no longer being served in order to reduce journey times and to improve reliability.

But ward councillor John Williamson, who is pressing the company for a rethink, said that the change to the journey – which takes passengers from Clovenstone in Edinburgh to Musselburgh Grammar School – would have “quite unwelcome repercussions” for many of his constituents in the area between Stoneybank Terrace and Mayfield Crescent.

He told the Courier: “The route has operated via Stoneybank Terrace and Monktonhall Terrace for many years now.

“Whilst there may be some issues caused by parked cars on Stoneybank Crescent, it hasn’t prevented other bus services using the route, and I don’t think any delays would be of a length to make buses catch up with each other.”

Mr Williamson has written to Lothian Buses’ managing director Richard Hall to express his concern about the decision.

He said: “The withdrawal of the service from this part of the route will cause difficulty for the not inconsiderable number of elderly residents in the Stoneybank area and leaves a large part of Musselburgh without a bus service.

“I fail to understand how missing out the proposed section will reduce journey times by any significant amount.”

Mr Williamson added: “When Queen Margaret University opened, the bus terminus at the Mucklets was moved – this meant a loss of the service into the Mucklets where residents in the Stoneybank area were able to cut through the various footpaths.

“If customers want to get a bus they now have a walk to Stoneybank Terrace or Eskview Terrace.

“If reducing journey times was an issue, could the part of the route along North High Street and up Newhailes Road not have been removed and the 30 routed along the Mall up to Stoneybank?

“That way there would still have been a service to the Stoneybank area, with plenty of buses covering North High Street.”

Resident Olivia Begbie said: “Coming from Musselburgh centre, the bus will turn right at the traffic lights at Eskview Terrace onto Stoneybank Terrace and straight up to Queen Margaret University.

“This means that many older people, workers and families will not have easy access to a frequent bus service.

“It is well used by passengers from the area it will soon no longer serve.

“On one hand we are being told to use cars as little as possible, yet buses serving a large area of housing are being rerouted, leaving residents with little choice but to use cars if they have them.

“For the many older people with mobility difficulties and no cars, it seems that no consideration has been given to them at all. Getting to the shops, work, school, nursery, clubs and church will become really hard for many.

“Although there is an infrequent service 111, run by Prentice, which also goes to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, it is a much smaller single-decker. I’m not even sure if it can take prams and wheelchairs. This would not help solve the problem of transport for many.”

The issue was also discussed at a meeting of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council last week.

Betty Ramsden said elderly people used the bus to go shopping in Musselburgh, adding: “It really means a lot to people.

“I will have to take my car more because you have no other transport.”

A spokesman for Lothian Buses said: “We are aware that some Stoneybank residents will have been slightly inconvenienced by the planned changes.

“However, traffic delays have continued to be unresolved in this area and the change is necessary in order to continue to provide a reliable service.”