At its February meeting, LHNCC noted that there is no direct bus from Leith to the Western General Hospital – instead people need to alight at Crewe toll, then walk to the hospital. It therefore decided to campaign for the 21 route to be extended into the hospital, as happens with other routes, and to ask neighbouring CCs to join this campaign.
LHNCC wrote to LRT, copying this to neighbouring CCs. Support has been received from Trinity CC, Leith Links CC and Granton & District CCs.
However, LRT has not been so receptive. They have emailed:
[Name redacted by LHNCC] has passed on your letter with regards to a potential route change to Service 21, and asked me to review this.
Firstly, thank you for contacting us to provide feedback on behalf of the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council. A route revision of Service 21 to serve the Western General Hospital would increase the journey times for the significant number of people travelling through this section of the route who are not going to the hospital. Increased journey times would have the potential to decrease the number of passenger journeys as the service would be seen as less attractive for cross-city travel. Additionally, the extra time needed for this route extension would lead to an increase in the amount of resources required to operate the service in terms of buses and drivers, which would increase operating costs.
Whilst we strive to offer as many direct links on our network as possible, unfortunately it is not possible to link every part of the City with every other part of the City. To do so would require a significant increase in the number of routes we operate which would make the bus network very complex to understand and use. Instead, our successful operating model creates an extensive and frequent network along main corridors, with many connection opportunities available at key locations where bus routes intersect, for passengers who wish to make a specific journey that is not covered by a direct link. There are many areas of the city where there is no direct link to a particular hospital. With specific reference to Service 21, there are interchange opportunities available at Crewe Toll on to alternative frequent services which travel along Crewe Road South past the Western General Hospital.
With regards to direct bus links between the Royal Infirmary and the Western General, services 24 and 38 already provide this, with frequent departures throughout the week.
I am sorry that I am unable to provide you with a more positive response to your request at the current time, however we will take your feedback into consideration as part of our longer-term network planning process. If you think that it would be of benefit for me to attend a Community Council meeting to discuss bus services that we provide in your area, please let me know and we can arrange this. In the meantime, I hope that this information will be of use when you report back to the Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council. If I can be of any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
[Name redacted by LHNCC]