Members of East Dunbartonshire Council unanimously backed a motion condemning a decision to withdraw two bus services from Milngavie and Bishopbriggs – the night before it was confirmed one of these services had been spared the axe, writes Neil McGrory.
At a full council meeting in Kirkintilloch on Thursday, July 6, co-leader Vaughan Moody and independent member Duncan Cumming agreed a composite motion regarding a decision by Glasgow Citybus to cease the 142 Bishopbriggs Circular and number 15 service, which runs from Milngavie to Glasgow City Centre, with both due to end on Saturday, June 29.
The following morning it emerged that a new contract would see the 142 circular retained for at least a year.
The motion reads: “These are well-used services and in many cases users of these services have no access to alternative transport. Essentially, they represent lifelines that cannot be lost by local people.
“Council therefore condemns the decision to remove these vital local bus services that serve our local communities. This decision will have a particular negative effect on those individuals and groups in East Dunbartonshire communities who rely on public transport to access employment, local services and leisure facilities.
“This withdrawal will lead to an increase in isolation to members of our communities leading to greater levels of social exclusion for these individuals and groups which is in direct contrast to policy objectives in National, Regional and Local Transport Strategies and the council’s commitment ot promoting inclusion.”
The motion further called on all group leaders and Councillor Cumming to write to Glasgow Citybus, the Scottish Government and MSPs expressing their disappointment at the decision, and seeking action to explore the future options for retaining the services. It also instructed the council chief executive Gerry Cornes to report to the next full council meeting, which will be held on June 27.
Councillor Cumming said “I am pleased we have been able to reach consensus. Transport transcends politics.These buses are a lifeline for people in our communities.”
In 2013, 1700 people signed a petition against proposed bus withdrawals which Councillor Cumming had originated, and he took this to Holyrood where he was invited to discuss the issue with the then transport minister Keith Brown.
Bishopbriggs South councillor and SPT member Alan Moir said that the situation with public transport was getting “worse and worse.”
He said the transport bill currently before the Scottish Government, which proposes giving local authorities more powers to operate their own public transport, was flawed because councils lacked the resources to be able to implement such changes.
“Local councils are cash strapped and it is not feasible for them to operate public transport. They don’t have the finances or the regulatory framework.”