FIRST BUS’ announcement to scrap the number 32 service permanently is the second blow to the commuter community since March.

The plans mean that people living in Garthamlock, Craigend and Ruchazie will lose access to the Easterhouse Shopping Centre, the health centre and the option to travel to and from work via the bus.

Four months ago, it was announced that the number 38 would terminate at the Fort. On Tuesday the Glasgow Times reported a further decision to stop the 32 and X2 services.

Ruchazie community council has acted and surveyed 295 residents. Of the 97 per cent using the bus, 33 per cent use the number 32 daily and 61 per cent use it weekly.

READ MORE: Petition launched after 31 bus service in axed in East Kilbride area

Chairwoman Denise McGuigan said: “When an area has few facilities on its doorstep, people are forced to rely on public transport to other areas, when people have difficulties accessing basic requirements like food and health care then First Bus are forsaking a vulnerable community, choosing profit above humanity.”

Scott McCarthy, Minister at Garthmlock & Craigend Parish Church, is worried about the decision when the council has been encouraging people to use the bus more to reduce their carbon footprint.

He said: “For most of us though, it’s the bus or nothing. Over half of us who live in Garthamlock, Craigend and Ruchazie don’t have access to a car or van. I’d urge the service providers to help us by improving services not reducing them.”

A local resident added: “It will affect my life as l am 75-years-old and use the bus on a regular basis for my shopping, to attend my doctor’s appointments at Parkhead health centre, and also to collect my prescriptions from the Asda chemist.”

Local councillors are calling on First Bus to reverse the decision. A discussion is expected to take place with the company tomorrow. (Friday)

READ MORE: Axing of X2 and 32 bus services will have ‘devastating effect’ in East End

Councillor Mandy Morgan said: “These communities have already lost a bus service to the Lochs Shopping Centre with the 38 now terminating at the Fort. This latest blow now completely cuts them off from shops and the health services.

“First Bus really need to rethink taking this service off as local residents rely on this bus service to access vital services.”

Ward colleague Ruairi Kelly added: This bus is a lifeline to Ruchazie and the surrounding area that connects it to shops, health services and people's places of work. How can First Bus call themselves a public transport provider if they rip services from communities like this?”

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Glasgow, has confirmed that First Bus is facing an unprecendented challenge at this time which means only being able to operated buses at a reduced capacity.

READ MORE: Anger as X1 service between Hamilton and Glasgow is axed​

Mr Macfarlan said: “This means that the cost of running any bus service is now much higher against a backdrop of much lower revenue.

“Service 32 had already been performing poorly and while we had embarked on a listening exercise with the community back in January to see if there was anything we could change in the local area, the onset of the global pandemic has had a huge impact on service viability.

“We therefore need to prioritise all resource where it is most useful to help alleviate the issues caused by Social Distancing restrictions, and also meet demand for services where we have capacity issues due to high passenger volumes.

“With that in mind, we’ve had to make some tough decisions and withdraw a number of marginal routes which are simply no longer viable to run in the current climate – this includes the currently suspended service 32 between Craigend and Parkhead Forge.

“The cancellation of any bus service is an absolute last resort for any passenger based business. In this case, there’s simply no prospect of the route ever becoming commercially viable, and it’s on that basis that we’ve had to make the decision.”