A VITAL Kilmarnock bus service has been suddenly axed as lockdown lifts – leaving people stranded.

The X16 Stagecoach service between Kilmarnock and Hamilton, South Lanarkshire is used by New Farm Loch residents going into the town centre, and commuters.

It stopped running without any notice on Monday, June 29.

New Farm Loch pensioner Margaret Dale and her daughter Lindsay, 38, rely on the service.

Margaret, who lives near Kennedy Drive, said: “We don’t drive or have access to a car and we are affected by limited mobility.

“I used a stick and my daughter has Down syndrome and has a problem with her knees. It is impossible for us to walk into town.

“We have a bus service for so long and then suddenly without any notification it is taken from us.”

Margaret branded the move “discriminatory” and pointed out how the other “side” of New Farm Loch had two buses going the same route.

New Farm Loch community council chair Peter Mabon called for the frequent number 6 and 7 buses to be rerouted to cover the Kennedy Drive area.

Mr Mabon said: “It is quite upsetting that Stagecoach have done this without any consultation. It places profit before people.”

Another community council member, Linda Holland, said: “The timing is atrocious. It looks like they are using the pandemic as an excuse.”

Labour and Co-operative party councillor Barry Douglas said the cut impacted people travelling to work or college in East Kilbride and Hamilton.

The Kilmarnock East and Hurlford politician also expressed concern about elderly residents losing the transport link into the town.

Commenting on Stagecoach, he said: “It could have been handled so much better. It doesn’t make sense. They run the bus during lockdown and they then pull it.”

Councillor Douglas said one lady had to take a week’s holiday as she couldn’t get to work. Another person faces two trains and a bus ride to get to where they need to go.

A Stagecoach West Scotland spokeswoman said the X16 service route between Kilmarnock bus station and Hamilton has made a loss over the course of the period between February 2018 and February 2020.

She said: “We will continue to look at innovative and more cost-effective ways of delivering services. At this time we have no suitable alternative solution for the X16 service between Kilmarnock bus station and Hamilton.

“As a result we will not be able to operate this part of the route for the foreseeable future.”