A bus service from Milngavie has been taken over yet again – and it’s good news for commuters.
The Herald reported in June that the crisis-hit No15 bus was being replaced by a new service from Milngavie to Anniesland in July.
But less than a month after taking it over, McGills bus firm announced earlier this week they were withdrawing it.
However, the good news is that Strathclyde Passenger Transport have been working with Glasgow Citybus to ensure a continuation of the service – and it will include a city-bound extension.
The warning again, though, is “use it or lose it”.
Local Green MSP Ross Greer, who has been heading the campaign for the local bus service, told the Herald yesterday (Wednesday): “Citybus have confirmed to me they will be taking the 15 service back from Monday 12th August, running hourly on the full Milngavie to the city centre route, via Bearsden, Anniesland and the West End.
“This is obviously fantastic news after the uncertainty of recent weeks and the frankly disastrous experience of the Milngavie to Anniesland service given to McGills. Residents should be under no illusions though, this is a ‘use it or lose it’ situation.
“SPT can only give Citybus a contract as far as Anniesland. Between there and the city centre, Citybus are running the service commercially, so if passenger numbers don’t cover costs, we could be back to square one within months.
“This saga has shown just how broken our bus regulations are and what a mess privatisation has made.
“SPT are forced to subsidise and plug gaps in an increasingly fragmented service, whilst passengers pay twice, once through their fare to private operators and then again through taxation to subsidise the routes those private operators otherwise won’t touch.
“The Greens will continue amending the Transport Bill currently going through parliament, to ensure it’s as easy as possible to bring bus services backto public ownership.”
Duncan Cumming, the independent councillor for Bearsden North who has campaigned on local bus services for many years, said: “I very much welcome the news the previously valued route passing through the West End and ultimately into the city centre, will recommence.
“I would like to take this opportunity of thanking SPT with whom I have the upmost confidence in the delivery of subsidised bus services within East Dunbartonshire.”
Milngavie SNP MSP Gil Paterson added: “This is very good news, a great result for the Mains Estate Residents Association and all the people who fought to have the service retained.
“However, I must caution that part of this route will be run on a commercial basis and if not used, we will soon find ourselves again in the situation where withdrawal is threatened.”
Bearsden SNP MSP Rona Mackay also welcomed the news. She said: “As the 15 bus service provides a vital link for residents in Milngavie and Bearsden into the city centre, I’m very glad to hear it is being reinstated by Glasgow Citybus.
“As they have said, feasibility of bus services relies on passenger uptake, so I would encourage residents who cherish this service to make use of it when it restarts shortly. I would also like to give thanks to SPT who fund the non-commercially viable section of the route from Milngavie to Bearsden and are continuing to do so.
“Local bus services are relied upon by many, some of who do not have access to their own vehicle. Regular and reliable public transport plays a crucial part in enabling us to make a modal shift from car to shared vehicles so we can reduce our impact on the environment.”
The fleet operating the new 15 service will be able to accept contactless payments for fares, and Glasgow Citybus have announced their intention to continue investing in the service by launching a mobile app and improved website soon.
These developments will enable customers to plan trips, monitor live bus journeys and buy discounted tickets.