ANGER GROWS OVER PLANS TO AXE BALJAFFRAY BUS

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CALLS have been made for the Scottish Government to intervene to prevent lifeline bus services being axed.

First Glasgow plans to get shot of the number 11 through Bearsden - leaving thousands of people with no public transport during the day.

There are also changes planned which mean the 119 will no longer run from Baljaffray Shopping Centre, but will start from Castlemains Road in Milngavie, causing further transport headaches.

The bus company says it is making the changes, which will take effect from April 29, due to a lack of subsidies from the Scottish Government.

Campaign

Independent councillor Duncan Cumming has set up a campaign to make First Glasgow think again and he has asked local SNP MSP Gil Paterson to put pressure on his own ministers to intervene.

The councillor said: “Gil Paterson must demand that the SNP Government budget cuts, cited by the bus company as being the cause of the culling of our bus services, must be immediately removed.”

However, the MSP responded: “I look forward to receiving Duncan’s correspondence on this matter. However, he needs to know that his questions to the Scottish Government are entirely misdirected.

“Strathclyde Passenger Transport receives its money from the Scottish Government like every other public body and it is up to them how they allocate the money. First Bus, a commercial operator whose profits, incidentally, have been increasing over the years, are claiming that their subsidy from SPT has been cut.

“Duncan would therefore be far better directing his questions to East Dunbartonshire Council’s representative on SPT, Labour councillor Alan Moir, to ask him why they have done this. This shouldn’t be a problem as he usually votes with the Labour group in the council anyway.

“The Scottish Government has absolutely no power over commercial decisions made by a private company. However, I do agree with Duncan that this service should not be cut, and if he wants me to write to SPT asking them why they have cut First Bus’s subsidy, I would be happy to do this, but I won’t be directing my questions to the Scottish Government.”

The subject will be brought before a full meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council next Thursday when the LibDem group will table a motion demanding Scottish Government action.

LibDem group leader Councillor Ashay Ghai said: “We believe it is important to exert maximum pressure on the SNP Government to reconsider their severe cut in bus service operator grants.”

Meanwhile, a meeting is due to be held on the bus cuts today (Thursday) between First Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC), and Councillor Cumming has issued his constituents with a ‘petition letter’ they can fill in and return to him.

Concern

Milngavie councillor, Provost Eric Gotts, said: “I have written to the managing director of First Bus to express my concern about the proposal to move the 119 terminus from the Baljaffray Shopping Centre to a lay-by on Castlemains Road, Milngavie.

“Apart from this site being a totally unsuitable location for a double decker bus terminus, it breaks an important historical bus link between the communities of Bearsden and Milngavie.

“This short-sighted proposal will disadvantage bus passengers from both communities. I shall be attending Thursday’s meeting in Tom Johnston House to make the views of my constituents known.”