FIRST BUS has been urged to put passenger needs before profit as it prepares to axe a vital bus route.

The transport giant will stop the 2 bus service between Baillieston and Airdrie from August 19 - leaving part of Coatbridge with no direct bus link to Airdrie.

This means residents will have to take two shuttle buses just to get to Monklands Hospital or to the neighbouring town.

And it leaves Coatbridge without any direct bus link to Glasgow.

Local residents have expressed dismay at the sudden change and say it will make travel around the area much more difficult and time consuming.

Catherine May, who lives in Old Monkland, said: "I have regular appointments at Monklands Hospital and would take the 2 from the bus stop near my house.

"I now have a nearly 10 minute walk to get to the bus stop for the local shuttle bus, which takes me to Whifflet, and then I'll have to wait for a second bus.

"I can't now travel to Bargeddie to visit family any more unless I pay for a taxi.

"It seems extraordinary that they would decide to severe the only direct bus link between this part of Coatbridge and Airdrie."


Glasgow City Council could take buses into public control

Transport bosses claim the service is no longer well used by people travelling to Glasgow due to improvements to the local rail network.

They say residents can use local shuttle buses - but these do not cover the same area as the current 2.

Robbie Grant said: "It's all very well to say that more people are taking the train into Glasgow - but the 2 bus route serves the train stations.

"Not everyone is able to walk from Old Monkland to Kirkwood railway station or to Whifflet."

Local MSP Fulton MacGregor said he contacted First as soon as the axing of the service was announced but it has taken several weeks for First to respond.

Mr MacGregor said: "I was extremely disappointed to find out about the decision to cease the No.2 route.

"And I believe that First Bus should have consulted more widely with residents before deciding to close the route.

"Since the decision, many of my constituents have contacted me raising their concerns about losing their only link to Glasgow and also Monklands Hospital by bus.

"As well as this, this particular route plays a massive part in keeping our communities connected, with many relying on the route for work, school, health, and leisure needs.

"The day the news broke I wrote a letter to First Bus outlining my desire to have the decision overturned as well as offering to meet them to discuss the issue.

"I am continuing to push them to work towards a solution that puts the needs of my constituents before profit."

John Gorman, Head of Operations for First Glasgow, said: "Unfortunately, passenger demand has been declining for many years since the opening of the Whifflet rail line and other improvements to the heavily subsidised rail network throughout the Monklands area, and sadly we have come to a point where we can no longer continue to provide this link.


Unions back public control of buses

“The vast majority of passengers still using this service travel locally within Monklands, and these passengers will continue to be served by service 201 (between Whifflet, Coatbridge, Monklands Hospital and Airdrie), and the various other local services provided by other operators which already provide the main bus services in these areas.

“One of these operators is extending their current Coatbridge to Bargeddie service to Baillieston to replace that section of service 2.

"New service 202 will maintain the peak hour link between Airdrie and Maxim Park that is currently provided by service 2."