THE axing of bus services will have a devastating effect on communities in the East End, it has been claimed.

First Glasgow announced that their X2 and 32 bus services will be permanently withdrawn.

The 32 bus service travels from Parkhead to Craigend while the X2 takes passengers from city centre to Robroyston.

The firm cited both the coronavirus pandemic and dwindling passenger numbers as the reasons for the decision.

Politicians including Ivan McKee MSP, Anne McLaughlin MP and councillors Allan Casey, Annette Christie, Christina Cannon and Graham Campbell have written to the firm to ask them to reconsider the decision.

They argued that they have already raised concerns about their constituents in Robroyston feeling isolated after the axing of a 19a bus service last year.

Ivan McKee MSP said “These decisions from First Bus will have a devastating effect on communities in Glasgow Provan.

“They need to think again and they need to do it quickly.”

Councillor Allan Casey said “It is completely disappointing that once again we find vital bus services in our communities axed.

“My constituents in Dennistoun ward have suffered vital route cuts continuously over the last couple of years and once again First Glasgow have cut yet more services without any consolation with the communities we serve.

“As with the 19a bus last year the 32 service was vital for many of our elderly constituents in accessing vital shopping facilities.

“I would urge First Glasgow to reverse this decision immediately”

Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Glasgow, said: “Like many other companies throughout the world, First Glasgow has been impacted by the pandemic and are facing one of the most challenging and unprecedented periods ever. We have tried to react quickly to the challenges presented throughout the pandemic with innovation as well as the safety of our staff and customers being at the forefront.

“The pandemic means we must make difficult decisions to protect the long-term continuity of the business and this means it is crucial that we prioritise all resource to where it is most needed and alleviate the challenges caused by Social Distancing restrictions, also ensuring services have sufficient capacity where passenger volumes are increasing.

“Both the service X2 and 32 are services that struggled with low passenger numbers prior to the pandemic, which meant they were not even covering the basic costs of their operation such as driver and fuel costs.

“With that in mind, we’ve had to make some tough decisions and withdraw a number of similar marginal routes from our overall network, which are simply no longer viable to run in the current climate. Unfortunately, this includes the currently suspended service 32 between Craigend and Parkhead Forge, as well as the currently suspended service X2 between Robroyston and the City Centre.

“Now, given the given the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on passenger volumes and the requirement for social distancing reducing the ability to carry the passenger volumes needed, it’s simply no longer viable for the service to run, and it’s with regret that we have to make the difficult decision to permanently withdraw both services. We have carried out and completed the normal required consultation period, but we cannot delay these decisions any further given the context of current global pandemic.”