Anger on southside as First Bus cut services

Anger on southside over bus cuts.
Anger on southside over bus cuts.

Residents in East Renfrewshire are on the warpath - and firmly in their sights is the local public transport provider, First Bus.

The companies decision to remove the number four service and also alter the route of the 4A have incensed locals, who have come out fighting!

Petitions have been started online and local MPs are calling on the company to rethink their decisions.

Extra reader, Ann Nugent told us: “The decision to curb the No. 4 bus service in Greenlaw/Crookfur seriously impacts on young people’s access to Eastwood High / Mearns Castle; and creates a lack of public transport servicing the new retail park, restaurant and retirement homes at Greenlaw Village. The 38 will still run, but does not cover the same areas and will create many problems.

“Surely with the amount of new homes being built it would make good sense to provide better public transport links? Or is there an assumption that Mearns residents all drive - as a homeowner in Greenlaw it would seem so, given that I have not one pedestrian crossing to safely take my new baby across the road in from my house.

“It’s bad enough that there is no public transport options to service the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital (it currently costs me around £20 in a taxi or around an hour and a half via two buses - and that’s off peak), but now I have no service to the New Victoria either - as a new mum with a debilitating condition and regular treatment it feels like there is very little support.

The Extra then heard from another reader, Joanne Robertson from Eaglesham, who alerted us to the fact that the route undertaken by the 4A service is to be altered.

She said: “Residents in Eaglesham will be severely affected when First Bus change their 4A route in Eaglesham. The changes mean the bus will no longer serve Polnoon or Montgomery but instead will go straight along Gilmour Street.

“This change will only shave a matter of minutes to the driver’s route but will have a significant adverse affect on the community in Eaglesham. People will now face a mile walk uphill from Gilmour Street to their homes and businesses.

“This will have a huge impact on the many elderly and non-car users in the village. Eaglesham is a rural village at a high altitude and subject to inclement weather. The conservation village does not have a railway service so the 4a is a much valued service and any cutbacks will severely affect the community.

“There is a serious risk that some residents with mobility issues will be stranded in their homes.”

First blamed a decrease in passenger numbers for the decision to remove the number four service.

A spokesman said: “First Glasgow has tried to maintain this section of Service 4 for a number of years despite falling passenger numbers but this has proved unsustainable and we have now announced its planned withdrawal.

“However, customers are advised that Service 38 covers the majority of the Crookfur area and passengers can transfer to Service 4 at Newton Mearns Cross.

“We have reluctantly taken this decision. It should be seen against a backdrop of decreasing passenger numbers across Glasgow and beyond.”

In respect of the 4A route changes, the spokesman added: “We have been striving to maintain this section of route for some time but, with no upturn in consistently low passenger numbers to and from Eaglesham, we have had to announce its rerouting.

“This change will enable us to make the necessary economies to maintain services to Eaglesham.

“It should be noted that the service on this section of the route has existed as a drop-off for passengers before buses proceed to the terminus, with pick-up for buses leaving Eaglesham still available at other stops as before.”

East Renfrewshire MPKirsten Oswald said: “I am very disappointed to hear of the proposals from First Bus to reduce buses serving Eaglesham and Crookfur. It is no time since they last cut buses to our local area, and for them to propose another such change is a real blow for local bus users.

“I am especially worried to hear that these changes will make it more difficult for my constituents to travel to the new Eastwood Health Centre.

“I have written to First Bus asking them to reconsider this decision which they have arrived at without consulting the local community. I would urge them to think again.”

Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw added: “This may be a minor change for the management of First Bus, but for many residents in Newton Mearns and Eaglesham this will cause a logistical nightmare.

“Affected are not only pupils of Mearns Castle High who happen to live west of Ayr Road, but also those who have appointments at The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital who use the number four bus.

“In Eaglesham the 4A service has shamelessly been cut from serving the Polnoon and Montgomerie streets.

“I have written to First Bus to raise these concerns on behalf of constituents. It is not clear what if any consultation was undertaken.”

The petition can be found at: https://www.change.org/p/first-bus-glasgow-stop-route-change-to-first-bus-service-4a-in-eaglesham.