Campaign steps up to save vital Bishopbriggs bus service

From left, Cllr Gary Pews, Betty Johnston and Jane Garvie
From left, Cllr Gary Pews, Betty Johnston and Jane Garvie

A Bishopbriggs councillor says residents are ‘absolutely devastated’ at the prospect of losing a vital local bus service.

As the Herald reported last week, Glasgow Citybus has given notice of its intention to withdraw from the 142 Bishopbriggs Circular route in July.

Councillor Gary Pews (Lib Dem, Bishopbriggs North) is supporting the campaign to save the bus, and says many of his constituents have contacted him to express their concerns.

He spoke to several of them this week.

Amongst them was 81-year-old Betty Johnston, who uses the bus three times a week to go shopping in the town centre and at the retail park.

She said: “I find it a struggle to get anywhere and if it wasn’t for this bus I would hardly be able to get out at all, or would have to take taxis everywhere, which I wouldn’t be able to afford in any case.

“We call it ‘the wee happy bus’, it’s like a community to us, and at Christmas not only do we give the drivers a wee gift, they give us one back. It would be a terrible blow to us if the bus was taken off.”

Another user of the service, Mary Mulheron (76), said: “I had heard a rumour about the bus stopping but didn’t want to believe it. When I heard the rumour was true, I was absolutely devastated and was almost crying. I use the bus every day. It is a Godsend to me and many others.”

Councillor Pews said: “Having met with Betty and Mary it is clear just how much this bus service means to them and how its loss would really affect their everyday lives.

“I have now spoken to SPT and to Glasgow Citybus to stress that to them, and I really hope that if Citybus do withdraw, another operator can come forward to keep the bus going.

“I have also discovered that as well as over 70 per cent of the passengers being pensioners, a further 21 per cent are pupils going to local schools, so they would be affected as well.

“However, Glasgow Citybus now tell me they will be submitting a tender offer to continue with the service, so it all depends on whether or not the bid is acceptable to SPT.

“One of my fellow Bishopbriggs councillors, Alan Moir, is East Dunbartonshire Council’s representative on SPT, and in fact is also its vice-chair, so I hope he can also press the case for the bus to be saved.”

In the Herald last week, Councillor Moir said the potential loss of the 142 was a “huge blow” to the community and “no stone should be left unturned” to save the service.