Eastwood MSP backs the 374 bus campaign

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Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh has added his support to a campaign calling for the continuation of the 374 bus.

As reported in last week’s Extra, the southside route is cancelled as of August 5, with a temporary, SPT-subsidised replacement scheduled until November 28.

Newlands and Auldburn councillor Emma Gillan voiced concerns for the service — connecting Merrylee, Shawlands, Battlefield and Clarkston — beyond November, commenting: “The 374 is an essential service and of vital importance to connect to the new hospital in Govan.”

SPT responded that the short term contract was standard practice, and that tenders for a long term replacement were being invited “to ensure the continuation of the service”.

This week, MSP Ken Macintosh said he was “disappointed” that a long term solution had not yet been found.

The Scottish Labour man has asked the transport minister to revisit the Bus Regulation (Scotland) Bill proposed by Iain Gray MSP, which he says would give councils the power to set up bus networks as rail-style franchises, and transport authorities the power to save routes routinely under threat.

Mr Macintosh said: “I believe our buses should serve the communities they drive through, but the private operators sometimes seem more interested in serving short term interests.

“There is cross party support for re-regulating the industry and I would ask the Scottish Government to join the consensus.

“We still call this public transport and hundreds of millions of pounds in public money goes into the bus industry, including to pay for the vehicles used on the 374 route. Bus companies may not support these measures, but passengers do.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman responded: “The Scottish Government recognises the importance of bus travel to many people in Scotland and passengers’ interests should always come first.

“We have no plans to take forward a bill along the lines of Mr Gray’s original proposal, however, we are actively looking at a range of options for improving how bus services are organised in Scotland, including changes to legislation, funding and guidance.”