LATE-night louts have forced bosses at the Transport Interchange in Galashiels to reduce their opening hours.

Since the hub opened in August, 2015, there have been regular incidents involving drunken thugs.

From Saturday, July 1, the building will operate from 5.45am to 11pm each day, instead of the current 4.30am to 1am.

The decision is part of a review of services at the Interchange which is expected to save Scottish Borders Council £40,000 per year.

The new opening hours also take into account the low bus passenger numbers using the facility before 6am and after 11pm.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Gordon Edgar, said: “There has also been late-night anti-social behaviour, with staff suffering verbal and physical abuse which has resulted in court appearances for offenders.

“We are working hard to tackle this unacceptable problem but closing at 11pm will certainly aid this issue."

The Interchange boasts a number of facilities for bus and train passengers including a cafe run by Born in the Borders, tourist information, showers and bike lockers.

All these facilities are staffed during opening hours.

However, with passenger numbers on the five bus services which run outside the new times averaging at just 1.5 passengers on each, very few use the Interchange during its earliest and latest opening hours.

Furthermore, since opening in August 2015 the Transport Interchange has been the site of a series of anti-social incidents, particularly late at night.

In a recent disturbance on Wednesday, March 22, a man under the influence of alcohol was arrested for offensive and abusive behaviour towards staff.

And several youth incidents involving fighting and rowdy behaviour have also been reported in recent months.

It is hoped that the new opening hours will help to prevent further disruption.

Train services outwith the new opening hours will be unaffected, with a ticket machine available on the railway platform.

The only change for bus passengers will be the use of stance eight directly outside the Transport Interchange to board early or late services.

Councillor Edgar added: "The Galashiels Transport Interchange is a well-used facility, with 3,000 people passing through every day.

“However, council figures show that since it opened, it is rarely used by bus passengers after 11pm and before 6am.

"In the current financial climate, the council has to consider how it delivers its services differently. While this change will result in some inconvenience for a small number of passengers, it will result in better use of the council’s resources.

“Importantly, this decision will not change any bus or train services and will not see any permanent jobs lost.”

There will be no permanent job losses as a result of the new times.