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Daily Record
Daily Record
Edel Kenealy

Anger as Erskine residents forced to take three buses to local hospital after service cuts

The elderly and frail living in Erskine now have to take three buses to their local hospital while young people have no direct access to college, it has been revealed.

Erskine Community Council says it has been inundated with complaints from residents impacted by the removal of the number 22 bus.

It was one of a number of services to be slashed by McGill’s Buses as part of an overhaul of its network earlier this month.

Now those living in the Renfrewshire town say access to the most basic services such as education, health care and groceries is an uphill battle.

Jane Devine, chair of Erskine Community Council, said authorities were failing to ensure the most basic public transport provision.

She told the Paisley Daily Express: “Whilst the McGill’s decision has been made on ‘business grounds’, this service is a lifeline that has been removed from our already poorly-serviced community.

“There are many young people with additional support needs who use this service to access education at Reid Kerr College in Paisley. Without this direct service, they are unable to use public transport and access their education.

“This service also allowed those using the Royal Alexandra Hospital to do so with one change of bus, there was no direct service to our local hospital.

“Removal will mean that those wishing to attend the hospital will have to use three separate bus services. As I’m sure you will agree, this is not acceptable.”

The call comes as Neil Bibby MSP has again demanded the Scottish Government intervenes to tackle the crisis in public transport in Renfrewshire.

The Labour MSP for West Scotland again raised the issue in Holyrood. Addressing transport minister Kevin Stewart, he said: “It is frankly astonishing that the Scottish Government has done nothing, precisely nothing, to stop bus services in Renfrewshire from being cut.

“It is also extremely disappointing that the Transport Minister has so far ignored my invitation to visit Renfrewshire and hear directly from the passengers affected. People in my area are rightly asking: “what is the government here for?”

He added: “These bus cuts are unacceptable to local people. So they should be unacceptable to the Scottish Government, too. People don’t want warm words, they want action. They want a reversal of these cuts, and an urgent plan to save our bus services.”

McGill’s previously said soaring costs, coupled with a drop in demand, meant many services across Renfrewshire were no longer financially viable.

Transport minister Stewart said: “The Scottish Government is committed, in partnership with operators and local authorities, to ensuring that everyone has accessible public transport regardless of where they live.

“It is for individual bus operators use their own commercial judgement to decide on service routes, fare structure and frequency.

“Since June 2022, we have delivered powers to enable local transport authorities to run their own local services, which sits alongside their existing ability to subsidise local bus services.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has been engaging with the industry through our Bus Taskforce and have been clear that the support provided to transport operators needs to evolve to ensure it remains fit for purpose and is sustainable in the long term.”

Douglas King, Head of Commercial at McGill’s Group, said: “The vast majority of Erskine residents are still able to travel to the Royal Alexandra Hospital using one change of service.

“There are various combinations of buses that can be used, such as the 757 to Paisley Town Centre followed by a number 10, 17 or 20 from Gauze Street to the RAH.

“For those accessing the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, there is also a direct service – the number 23 – every 30 minutes during the day.

“We recognise that recent service changes will have an impact on some passengers but we have worked to mitigate that and ensure that for the majority of bus users, direct services or a single change is available when travelling to prominent local destinations. Customers can plan available journey options by visiting our website at".

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