Wheels come off 44 bus route

Commuters will face a reduction in the 44 service.
Commuters will face a reduction in the 44 service.

BUS services to Eaglesham and Newton Mearns will be cut despite local opposition.

From May 26, outside of peak times, the new 4/4A buses will run two times an hour, as opposed to the 44 which currently runs three times an hour. The service will be reduced further on Sundays and evenings, meaning a 25 per cent cut in services on Mearns Road.

East Ren politicians Ken Macintosh and Jim Murphy led a campaign against the cuts which was backed by councillors and residents.

 Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh told The Extra: “First Group have ignored public opinion and pressed ahead regardless with these cuts. It’s time we had proper regulation of our bus services so we are not continuously inconvenienced by chopping and changing routes.

“I call on them now, even at this late stage, to reverse these cuts to areas which are already poorly served by public transport.”

East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy added: “Local people have already been hit by bus cuts following the cancelling of the 44 night bus last year.

“I know that most people in the area have cars but those who rely on the bus service in communities like Crookfur, Mearns and Eaglesham face being cut off from the public transport network.

“First Glasgow should serve all the communities in East Renfrewshire and not stop at the Glasgow boundary.”

A First Glasgow spokesman maintains the changes will have very little effect on bus users in Eaglesham and Newton Mearns.

He said: “During peak periods we will continue to operate at a similar frequency.

“On Mondays to Fridays 10am till 3pm we will run a regular 30 minute service from Eaglesham and Newton Mearns rather than the current, somewhat irregular, timetable.

“I can confirm we will re-number the service. The 44 will be replaced by service 4, which will run to Newton Mearns, and service 4A, which will run to Eaglesham — however, the level of service will remain more or less the same.”

Despite these promises, residents voiced frustration over the cuts.

Extra Facebook follower Annemarie McGregor commented: “Typical. Why do a consultation when you don’t have any intention to listen?

“Let’s get a small operator in on the 44 route like in the 38 route and see how customers react.”

Fraser Davidson added: “If we had a regular bus service more people would use it.

“Surely the council or government could set up a bus service for our area considering the many other things they waste money on?”