DRIVERS on a Tweeddale bus route marked a year of ticket clipping for Houston’s Coaches on Monday.

And, in what is thought to be unique among public transport operations, a users' Facebook page has more than 1,500 people communicating both the good and bad points of the daily 101/102 service.

Houston’s company spokesperson, Lorilee Kirkpatrick, said: “We are pleased to be celebrating a successful first year covering the 101/101a and 102 services between Dumfries and Edinburgh.

“It is estimated that by April 1 we will welcome our 176,000th passenger on this route.

“Our thanks to each and every customer who continues to make it a success.”

In July 2022 the service, which connects Dumfries and Edinburgh, via Tweeddale, was threatened with closure and was only saved after 10,000 people signed a petition.

Later, a further 1,400 people completed an online survey about the service which helped Houston’s decide to tender for the route.

The route’s subsidy totals £385,000 per annum shared by the three authorities, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Scottish Borders Council and SWestrans, paying £128,333 each.

Edinburgh City Council does not contribute towards the service.

Ian Reid, of Stand Up For Our Buses (SUFOB), said: “Company, drivers, mechanics, passengers and elected representatives have done a great job of supporting the service.

“The Facebook page has more than 1,500 using it which is phenomenal.

“They are using it far more than a tracker would ever be used.

“Bus drivers, passengers and the company itself are on it and it is used very responsibly.”

Ms Kirkpatrick added: “Thanks to everyone from our shunters and cleaners, drivers, office team and management for making sure everything runs smoothly on a daily basis.

“Our four Volvo MCV Evora's are now all on the road and dedicated to the 101/102 services.

“They each have their own name: Bus Lightyear, Arthurs Seat, Sir Stops-a-lot and Whitney.

“Whitney was the last bus to arrive in December, she is the largest of the four and has 47 seats plus room for standees.

“The Volvos were chosen for their comfort and reliability, especially for the three hour journey in each direction.”

Tweeddale West councillors Viv Thomson, Eric Small and Drummond Begg gave a joint statement about the revived service.

They said: “It’s been great to see so many people using the new buses.

“We are putting pressure on the Scottish Government for a fair deal on fares.

“The current free bus pass reimbursements don’t cover the fare and this needs to change if we are going to maintain rural services.

“With the Edinburgh Low Emissions Zone coming in to force in June we hope that this will see more people get on board and support the 101/102 service.”

Mr Reid added: “Word has got out, about the 101, in a way that never happened before, for example there would appear to be far more people coming from Edinburgh south.

“On a weekend, the bus can be packed, many students have learned about the 101 and are using their free bus passes for trips to the Pentland Hills.

“Houston’s also responded very well to the rugby internationals with larger buses, because they listen to what the travelling public are saying and they are reading what’s happening.”

“Together we have managed to save the service, if it had not been saved there would have been no prospect of it returning.

“SUFOB is committed to making sure the profile of the 101 stays prominent.”