The Scottish Government has been accused of ‘doing nothing’ to prevent recent cuts to bus services, which affect routes to a Glasgow hospital and major shopping centre.

McGill’s has implemented a reduction on several routes from last month.

Some of the affected bus routes include the number 6, running between Paisley and Silverburn, as well as the number 17, which runs between Foxbar and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

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Neil Bibby, West of Scotland Labour MSP, said: “Despite McGill’s cutting a huge 13% of services in Renfrewshire, the Scottish government has done nothing. 

Glasgow Times:

“SPT [Strathclyde Partnership for Transport] and councils only have very limited resources to step in. 

“At a busy public meeting in Linwood this week, people from across Renfrewshire, told of the huge impacts these cuts are having on NHS staff and patients, college students, and working parents. People in Renfrewshire think these cuts are unacceptable.”

Referring to the bus cuts as “disappointing”, Patrick Harvie, minister for active travel, said deregulation means the government is limited in its powers.

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Harvie said: “Since the deregulation of the Thatcher era, Scottish ministers don’t have the power to intervene over specific bus services. 

“We do remain committed to supporting the sector with £421 million allocated in 2023/24 to bus services and concessional fares.

“We have delivered power to local authorities to run their own services, sitting alongside existing powers to subsidise services. We’re working with COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) on the community bus fund and encourage operators and local authorities to collaborate for the benefit of passengers.”Speaking to the Glasgow Times afterwards, Bibby said: “There is widespread anger and frustration from passengers about McGill’s cuts to bus services.

“I have heard many stories of how this is affecting people, whether that be students unable to get to college or working parents struggling to get to work. I have also heard the devastating story of a dialysis patient who now has to take taxis from Paisley to the QEUH because of early morning cuts to the number 17.

“We need to fundamentally reform Scotland’s broken bus market. Local people think these cuts are unacceptable. That’s why I have called on the Scottish Government to take action. Local buses should be under local control and there should be no more blank cheques for private bus operators.”