Save the 204 bus!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Jeanetta Black for her letter in Thursday’s “Evening Telegraph” regarding the council’s axing of the 204 bus :
The campaign to save the 204 is far from being over and, like Jeanetta, I share the concern that the so-called Blether Bus “alternative” service the council is suggesting is simply not fit for purpose.    The “service” utilises council mini-buses that many older folk and people with mobility difficulties will not be able to access.
I have now queried the legal position with Dundee City Council’s Head of Democratic and Legal Services.    Local authorities had a responsibility in Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 that required all land-based transport vehicles to be accessible to disabled people including those who need to remain in wheelchairs.    These responsibilities transferred to the 2010 Equality Act and there is now also a public sector equality duty in Scotland.    
Meantime, the petition to save the 204 bus has gathered momentum with over 260 local residents signing it.    It can be signed at

Roseangle temporary closure – 204 bus service

Further to the Temporary Traffic Order for a temporary road closure from tomorrow in Roseangle to properly restore the setted road surface following temporary repairs, I asked the City Council if special arrangements to ensure the 204 bus can run along most of its route [as was done during the last temporary closure] could be undertaken again. 

The Transport Controller in the council’s Sustainable Transport Team advised me as follows :
“The same diversion will be in place for this closure as the last.
Travelling towards Ninewells, service 204 will omit Rosenangle, Magdalen Yard Road and Windsor Street.
Travelling towards city centre, service 204 will serve Windsor Street and Magdalen Yard Road by using the Riverside Approach junction to turn, before travelling back up Windsor Street and then east along Perth Road to the city centre. 
This allows passengers to board the 204, travel to the city centre and then stay on the bus to take them to Ninewells. 
Although this increases passengers journey time it means they do not have to walk uphill to Perth Road to catch a bus travelling towards Ninewells.”

204 bus – Roseangle closure arrangements

I previously advised that, from tomorrow for up to 5 days, Roseangle will be closed to through traffic (towards the Perth Road end) from tomorrow due to gas connection works.
I have been in touch with the City Council regarding the running of the 204 bus which comes down Roseangle then along Magdalen Yard Road on its route from the City Centre to Ninewells Hospital.
As this bus is used by many elderly residents for whom a walk uphill from Magdalen Yard Road or up Windsor Street is a struggle, I was anxious to see what could be done to minimise the effect of the road closure.
I am pleased to advise that the council’s Sustainable Transport Team Leader has now advised me that :
“We have been in discussion about the possibility of serving Magdalen Green area during the Roseangle closure (5 days from Monday, 22 May 2017).   Obviously I’m keen to offer something to the residents living between Perth Road and Magdalen Green but it’s not easy to do so without compromising the timetable of the 204.   
I have taken the view that most users of the service come into Dundee City Centre and therefore I have approached Stagecoach and asked that they try and serve Magdalen Green on the way into town.  They’ll do that by coming down Windsor Street and as far as the triangular junction of roads at Riverside Approach, turn there and then back up to the Perth Road via Windsor Street.  On the way out of town the bus will only serve the Perth Road and will miss out Magdalen Green.  Hopefully passengers can manage the downhill walk if alighting on Perth Road.    Notices have been put out … at affected stops.”

Future of the 204 bus service settled

A number of residents have contacted me recently about the future of the 204/204a bus service.   
The contracts for the council-subsidised bus services – that aim to ensure streets otherwise not served by bus services – are up for renewal from mid-August and passenger surveys have been undertaken about usage.
The 204/204a has not been the best-performing of similar services – the ‘split’ part route meaning that for much of the route the services is only every two hours has made it difficult to built up passenger loyalty.   On the current “204 version” (as opposed to the 204a) there have been challenges with parts of the route (narrow streets with parked cars).
The good news is that the 204 service will continue with a new contract from August.     The council’s Sustainable Transport Team Leader advised me earlier today :
“The contracts were exchanged yesterday.  You can advise constituents that the Service 204 is to continue – but in a revised format.  To be operated by Stagecoach Strathtay from 15 August 2016.”
The revised route centres on the old 204a route (the version that includes Royal Victoria Hospital) – see route pictured above right.

This will ensure an hourly service throughout the route.    If any resident has a query about the 204 service, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Bus changes during road works

With the commencement of road works in Nethergate and the very east part of Perth Road up to Roseangle started today, I have had constituents ask about the effect on bus services 204 and 204a and also the Friendly Bus Sheltered Shopping Service that goes to Paton’s Lane Sheltered Housing each Tuesday.
The City Council has now advised me as follows :
204/204a Service
“Service 204/204A will still use Magdalen Yard Road when Nethregate works are in operation.
Members of public should be aware that the buses on Magdalen Yard Road will all travel in an Easterly direction, both travelling towards City Centre and Ninewells Hospital.
Towards Ninewells Hospital the service will travel along Hawkhill to Windsor Street down Windsor Street, along Magdalen Yard Road, turn left at top on Perth Road to Hyndford Street then follow normal route to Ninewells Hospital
Towards Dundee City Centre, the service will operate from Hyndford Street, then Windsor Street, Magdalen Yard Road, turn left at top onto Perth Road then turn right onto Hawkhill at Blackness Library, into Dundee City.
These diversions are in operation from today until Friday.
From Monday 12 August only services travelling towards Ninewells Hospital will use the diversion route.  Eastbound traffic towards Dundee City will not be affected.”
Friendly Bus Service
“(The council) …met with Stragecoach last week to discuss the friendly bus.   They have agreed that the service will run as normally, although may be running late at times.”

Community Spirit Action Group meeting

Yesterday evening, I attended the April meeting of Community Spirit – the community group for the “north” part of West End Ward, covering Pentland, Tullideph, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.

There was a good discussion with a representative from the City Council’s Environment Department about grass maintenance and related issues.   I sought assurances about the removal of weeds from the gutters of West End roads which often becomes an issue as the summer approaches.

I was also able to update the meeting about the on-going  lack of Sunday buses serving Pentland and the north side of Logie, with some good news of a review of provision that will take place in the summer.   

Over many months, I have highlighted the inadequate bus services in parts of the West End and, in particular, the lack of service on Sundays in areas like Pentland, Scott Street and parts of the 204a service area like Newhall Gardens and Invergowrie Drive.

I met with the Managing Director of National Express Dundee when the Number 4 service was re-routed away from the West End, which was a really detrimental move by the bus company.     I have also continued discussions with Transportation staff at the City Council about the matter and is now pleased to have been advised by the City Council Head of Transportation that the areas I have highlighted will be reassessed as part of a review of local bus service provision by the council in the summer.   

The purpose of this review is to look at the operation of the small number of bus services the council subsidises (such as the 204 and 204a) and any gaps in provision.   I have made the point on behalf of local residents that some form of Sunday service where there is currently none would be a boon and that the current route the 204/204a takes is convoluted.

Community Spirit Action Group now has a new publicity leaflet – see below – and you can download it here :

Reassurances over 69 (now 204!) bus service

I have reassured a number of elderly constituents in the West End served by the subsidised 69 bus service that rumours of its demise are inaccurate and that a replacement service (204/204a) will cover much of the route from 15th August.

The 69 service in the West End covers streets like Roseangle, Magdalen Yard Road, Windsor Street, Newhall Gardens and Invergowrie Drive – streets that otherwise would not have any bus service.    It is well-used by elderly residents to get shopping, to go to the City Centre and to Ninewells Hospital.

A number of sheltered tenants in the Paton’s Lane area contacted me last week about rumours that the 69 service was being taken off and although it is accurate that the 69 itself will be removed next month, the replacement 204/204a gives a better service in that, up to Windsor Street, it will be hourly during the day and there will also be a Saturday service.   Although it does not serve Tesco Riverside as the 69 did, it will be possible for 204 passengers to shop at Tesco South Road.

The timetable can be downloaded at

I have updated sheltered housing managers in the Paton’s Lane, Muirlands and Magdalen Yard Road area of the new timetables so they can reassure residents.   I am also pleased that I have received a commitment that the Friendly Bus sheltered shopping service will – from August – cover the Richmond Court/Terrace area.

However, the re-routing of the 4 Bus Service from National Express Dundee away from Scott Street, City Road and the Tullideph/Pentland areas is clearly detrimental to local residents.

More on bus services in the West End

I have already updated residents about my concerns at the re-routing of the Number 4 bus service away from the West End and its negative effect on elderly residents in particular in the Logie/City Road/Tullideph/Pentland/Ancrum areas.

The City Council, through its revised tendered subsidised services from 15th August, has attempted to provide some sort of service on this part of the former National Express 4 route, although no-one could pretend that the new 204 (replacing the current 69 Stagecoach Strathtay subsidised  route – the 204 covering part of the former 4 service;  the 204a on alternate hours covering other parts of the former 69 route such as Invergowrie Drive and Newhall Gardens) is a real replacement for the 4 service.    

I have received many concerns from residents about the situation regarding the 4 service.    The new 204 subsidised route’s timetable is now available – go to to download this.    

Another concern raised by constituents has been the position regarding the 4s school bus and staff at the City Council raised this on my behalf with National Express Dundee while I was on holiday.   Here is the bus company’s response :

“I refer to your email regarding the 4s service which currently serves the St John’s High School.   As you will be aware Councillor Macpherson had a meeting with Mr Smith regarding services in the west end just prior to going off on his holiday and at that time he was informed that we had carried out a review carried of all the services which we currently operate and decisions were taken regarding those services which were no longer viable for us to operate on a commercial basis.     The 4s is one such service and was not a decision that we took lightly but I can advise that the pupils who do use the service are still able to get to school and home again albeit their journeys will be slightly longer.
From the 14th August the new revised 26 service will depart from the Seagate at 0754 and from Whitehall Street at 0800 heading towards Ninewells Hospital and should arrive at the school at approximately 0840.   For the return journey they have two options: one being the 26 service at 1545 towards Ninewells Hospital arriving into the City at 1627, the second option being  to board the 10s leaving St John’s at 1532 arriving at the Hospital at 1551 where they would then be able to catch a 5, 17 or 22 to their destination.”

I would welcome residents’ feedback on the buses issue –