No15: Greer meets with Citybus

Scottish Green Party's Ross Greer during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 31, 2019. See PA story SCOTLAND Questions. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Scottish Green Party's Ross Greer during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 31, 2019. See PA story SCOTLAND Questions. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Green MSP and local commuter Ross Greer has had “an open and constructive” meeting with a Glasgow Citybus 
official as anger grows over the scrapping of the No15 bus.

The 15, which runs between Milngavie and Glasgow city centre, via Bearsden, Anniesland and the West End, will cease operating at the end of June.

Ross met with the firm’s Commercial Manager Sharon Morrison to hear the reasons behind the decision and to present a 16-page summary of protest emails, letters and phone calls from local residents who rely on the service.

The MSP also handed over a petition from residents of Oakburn Gardens sheltered housing in Milngavie, calling for the service to remain.

He said Ms Morrison explained the issues which have prevented the route from becoming profitable in its six years of operation.

She told him primary challenges are congestion along many sections of the route, consistently but unpredictably delaying buses, as well as passenger data showing that most of those using the service do so from areas with other bus services, resulting in increased competition and insufficient usage.

Citybus told him they have instead decided to focus on investing in other areas of their service, including the local No17 route.

However, the MSP added that SPT (Strathclyde Passenger Transport) have started a tender process to ensure that those parts of the 15’s route which are not already served by other buses will continue to have a service.

He said West Coast Motors, operators of Glasgow Citybus, have emphasised they are not pulling out of Bearsdenand Milngavie entirely or permanently and would be interested in taking on local routes 
in the future, should they be viable.

After the meeting, Ross Greer MSP, who is a regular user of both the 15 and 17 services, said: “It’s extremely disappointing the service will be lost, but I’m grateful to West Coast Motors for being very open and constructive in explaining why they have made this decision, as well as what can be done to support local residents when the 15 ends.

“While it seems unlikely that the service will be reinstated completely, I’m hopeful we can ensure nobody is left stranded. I’ve now asked SPT for an urgent meeting to discuss their tender and to emphasise the fact that many local residents are reliant on this bus connection to travel for work, university and college and to simply get between Bearsden and Milngavie.

“For as long as our buses are ran by a barely regulated free-market model though, cuts like this will continue to happen. Public transport should be run in the interests of the public.

“Publicly-owned Lothian Buses in Edinburgh is the best service in the country and there’s no reason we can’t have the same here. That’s why the Greens are attempting to amend the Scottish Government’s transport bill this very week, with the aim of making publicly-ran services easier to set up.”