AN EXPRESS bus service connecting East Lothian’s coastal villages with Edinburgh could “soon” be back on the road.

Lothian Buses suspended the X5 service, which links North Berwick, Dirleton, Aberlady, Gullane and Longniddry with the capital, almost two years ago at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, has repeatedly called in recent months for the service to be reinstated.

He handed over a petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 people, calling for the service to be brought back to the bus company.

Mr Hoy, who is also a councillor for the Haddington and Lammermuir ward on East Lothian Council, was pleased to say the bid for the service to return seemed to be heading in the right direction.

READ MORE: MSP hands over petition to Lothian Buses calling on return of axed service

Nigel Serafini, the interim chief executive of Lothian Buses, wrote to the politician to update him on the situation.

He said: “We are only just covering existing service levels but with an uplift of new recruits due to begin in the business shortly, we are hopeful that we will soon be in a position to announce a date for the return of the service.

“This does however critically hinge on no further outbreaks or changes to guidance in the coming weeks.

“As always, we continue to review our network provision and remain committed to restoring services where circumstances allow.”

In the absence of the X5, people commuting into Edinburgh on the bus can face an extra hour being added on to their journey as they travel through Musselburgh and Portobello towards the city centre.

READ MORE: MSP accuses bus bosses of having 'heads in the sand' over suspended X5 service

In contrast, after passing through Longniddry, the X5 heads onto the A1 and into the capital.

Mr Hoy welcomed the latest development and was keen to see further progress being made.

He said: “I am pleased that Lothian Buses have now responded to the petition calling for the reinstatement of the X5 service, and I am delighted that they are looking at providing a date for the return of the service ‘soon’.

“The X5 bus was a popular service in the local community providing a direct and convenient route into the centre of Edinburgh in under an hour.”