PAYING passengers will be banned from 20 bus services in the Borders as schools return.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has announced that 20 routes are being deregistered from public use from August 11, so more room will be available for pupils.

SBC chief executive Tracey Logan said: “It is important to emphasise that while many of the services being closed off to the public may have theoretically been open for public use, the uptake has historically been extremely low, and in some cases unused entirely.”

To see the full list of routes being taken over for school children only, readers can visit the council’s website.

When pupils return to classrooms on Tuesday, five months after the coronavirus pandemic prompted the closure of schools, they will not have to obey social-distancing or wear face coverings. The same will apply to students using school transport.

However, pupils will have to use hand sanitiser when they board buses, and the vehicles will be cleaned thoroughly.

While unveiling these measures, the council also announced that 20 public bus services will be taken over for school-use only. The council says the move is designed to “maximise capacity for pupils”.

Affected routes include the Borders Buses 313 (Galashiels to Earlston via Tweedbank); service P32 from Borders Buses (Newhall to Peebles); and the Telfords service S03 (Gordon Arms to Selkirk).

Ms Logan said: "In all instances, if any member of the public who would normally use the services still needs to travel and there is no alternative public transport, the council will provide assistance.

"Anyone in this situation should contact our Passenger Transport team on or call 0300 100 1800.

"Throughout the rest of this week we will be providing regular updates and information for parents, carers and pupils on all aspects of the return to school, all of which can be accessed online at"

On buses which will contain both pupils and paying customers, the pupils will be given a dedicated section of the bus. Everyone will have to obey social distancing and wear masks.

Services which require pupils to follow government COVID-19 guidelines include Borders Buses X95 (Lindean to Galashiels Academy); Borders Buses 91 (Biggar to Peebles, via Broughton); and Telfords H05 (Newcastleton to Hawick).