Glasgow bus service saved for now – but fight goes on

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The mainland bus service used by many islanders to get to Glasgow has been saved – for the time being.

Campaigning to save the X36 bus service from Ardrossan to Glasgow from being axed is being intensified by councillors after the services were given a stay of execution this week.

The service, and the X34 service from Beith, had been due to finish next month, however, the Scottish government extended its network support grant nationally which means Stagecoach will now run the service until October 1.

Councillor John Bell told the full North Ayrshire Council meeting on Wednesday: ‘This gives us a stay of execution to keep campaigning. I have had many letters from constituents pointing out the difficulties this will place on their working and home lives.

Garnock Valley councillor Donald L Reid said: ‘If this service is not saved, the Garnock Valley, which suffers disproportionately as a rural area, will suffer even more. We had a public meeting – the biggest one I have ever been at – attended by 200 people last Tuesday and one woman said she would be unemployed if it didn’t run.

‘It’s a lifeline service for this area. I would hope the council would put the most pressure on to make sure the services are retained after October 1 otherwise Garnock Valley is on a real downward slope.’

The council agreed to register its support to the community in its efforts to make Stagecoach reconsider its decision and instruct the chief executive to write to the Scottish government, the SPT and Scottish transport minister.

Meanwhile, responding to news local authorities now have powers to run their own bus services, West Scotland MSP Katy Clark has called for funding and resources to be put into place so they can do so.

Ms Clark argued this will enable North Ayrshire Council to permanently protect threatened lifeline routes, such as the X34 and X36.

The Scottish Labour MSP commented: ‘Here in North Ayrshire, declining use due to the pandemic means lifeline routes are under threat as they are not ‘viable’.

‘Ministers must enable local authorities and transport partnerships to explore setting up their own networks so residents are finally served with routes based on need rather than profit.’