Having heard rumours about upcoming changes to the Number 4 and 4A bus services, East Renfrewshire Greens spent most of last week asking First Bus for confirmation on what was going on:
On Thursday, First Bus posted an update on their website providing the details of upcoming services changes, and it confirms that these changes will impact those who rely on the 4 and 4A services in the East Ren area:
From 23rd October, residents in Crookfur and stretches of Eaglesham will no longer be serviced by First Bus. Having previously raised the issue of poor public transport options for those travelling to Glasgow’s new Southern Hospitals and the new Eastwood Health and Care Centre, East Renfrewshire Greens are disappointed to find yet another example of public transport failing to live up to public need.
With First Bus having recently increased their prices in May – for instance a four week pass went up from £39 to £44, an increase of almost 13% – those of us who regularly use First Bus’ services may find themselves wondering why they’re paying more for less.
What can we do about this? As East Renfrewshire Council stated in its Local Transport Policy 2008-2011:
Bus services are provided on a commercial basis with the Council having very little control over bus operators and the routes they operate… The Council seeks to improve bus services by working with bus operators but this is dependent upon their cooperation.
Service changes like this show the limitations of our current, deregulated bus service. Green MSP Patrick Harvie has previously campaigned for Better Buses in Scotland, and the Scottish Greens’ manifesto for a bolder Holyrood included the following commitment:
Too many people are underserved by local bus routes. We would support the re-regulation of buses to stop companies ‘cherry-picking’ profitable routes and leaving some communities stranded
If you want to see bus companies having to take more account of public need, why not contact your local and regional MSPs to ask them if they would support increased regulation?
You can also let First Bus know what you think of their current plans on their website.