- 20 October 2016
The withdrawal by First Glasgow of the 4A bus service connecting Kelvindale directly with the city centre is proving to be a big issue locally, and a considerable number of local residents have now been in touch with me about this. I wish to provide an update on my efforts to halt the service changes in the first instance, and to secure a commitment from First Glasgow that meaningful consultation with bus users should be a pre-requisite to developing an efficient service which will better serve the needs of Kelvindale residents.
UPDATE 21/10/16 6pm: First Group MD Giles Fearnley has responsed to me advising the proposed cuts will go ahead on Sunday, but the alternative route proposals I had sent him will be considered "in due course".
Jointly working with other elected representatives
I have worked closely with my colleagues Patrick Grady MP, Cllr John Letford and Cllr Franny Scally, to help develop a coherent position on behalf of the community.
Correspondence with First Glasgow
Having written to First Glasgow, I received a variation of the standard response I am aware that a number of residents have received, essentially re-stating that the 4A service will be withdrawn from 23rd October; advising of alternative services available either from Maryhill Road or via the new M4 to Anniesland; and confirming their procedures for notifying service changes.
Meeting with First Glasgow
Cllr Letford and SPT Board member Cllr Malcolm Balfour met with a representative of First Glasgow last week. Cllr Letford left the representative in no doubt over the significant detrimental impact the service changes would have. It was also unclear as to what consultation or discussions there were between First Glasgow and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport on the service changes. Consequently Cllr Letford has arranged to meet a representative of SPT to look at the role of SPT within the process.
Meeting with Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Group
Subsequent to Cllr Letford's meeting, I arranged for a representative from my office to meet with First Group MD Giles Fearnley to discuss both the wider issues of bus routes in Glasgow and the specific difficulties with the 4A service.
I sent a follow-up letter to Mr Fearnley asking for him to consider alternatives to the existing proposals, including a direct service from Kelvindale through Hyndland, Byres Road and on to Partick interchange, which many residents have suggested to me would be a useful service. Mr Fearnley has committed to giving the suggestions consideration.
In the meantime it remains unclear as to whether First Glasgow will offer continuity of service with the current service 4A whilst any new route is being considered.
I have lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament on the lack of consultation by First Glasgow, and again calling for them to halt their proposals:
Motion Number: S5M-02015
Title: Community Consultation and the 4A Bus Service
That the Parliament commends everyone involved with the campaign to save the direct bus route through Kelvindale in Glasgow that is provided by the 4A service; notes that these include Kelvindale Community Council, the organisers of an online petition that, it understands, has attracted up to 3,000 signatures and the many other people who have taken the time to make their views known; believes that the needs of the travelling public are best known by communities and service users; understands that many proactive suggestions have emerged as to how best organise a new route that will not only provide better links to important public transport hubs for people in Kelvindale and other communities, but might lead to improving usage and increasing revenue; urges First Glasgow to halt its plans to reduce services in Kelvindale, and calls on the operator to enter into meaningful dialogue with the travelling public and the communities to explore what it sees as the constructive alternative suggestions that have been made.
We must all continue to put pressure on both First Glasgow and their parent First Group to reconsider. They have backed down on cuts in the past, and may do so again if the community demonstrates the importance of the 4A service to them.
Delivery of alternative proposals may only be possible in the medium term, but it is in everybody's interests to have a service which suits the users, and I will continue to assist wherever I am able to.
I will continue to look at solutions in relation to better bus links for Kelvindale irrespective of the outcome to the current 4A campaign.