Firstly, after a week of detailed discussions within the City Council, I am pleased to report significant progress towards ensuring the 72 bus service continues.
After a meeting with the Chief Executive of the City Council today, I spoke again with the Operations Manager at Stagecoach Strathtay, and thereafter over 50 phone calls to residents who either attended the recent meeting at the Paton’s Lane Sheltered Lounge about the future of the bus service or contacted me about the matter. Over 50 calls took ages (hours to be exact!) but residents are very pleased at the progress.
Here’s the news release I issued earlier, reported in tonight’s “Evening Telegraph” :
NEWS RELEASE : Good news as vital City Bus Services set to be retained
Dundee City Council’s Planning & Transport Convener, Cllr Fraser Macpherson, today announced that, following discussions between the City Council and Stagecoach Strathtay, two vital city bus services – the 69 serving Broughty Ferry and the 72 serving the West End – look set to be retained in a revised format.
The two bus services had been set to be withdrawn completely from 18th August, following an announcement by the operators Stagecoach Strathtay, but Cllr Macpherson said that, subject to committee approval on 11th August, the City Council had reached agreement with the bus company to retain the routes on a limited timetable.
Cllr Macpherson said that both routes provided a lifeline service for many – particularly elderly people – who live in streets that would otherwise not have a bus service. He sais that, as the ward councillor for the West End, he was very aware of the impact of the loss of the 72 service on constituents, many of whom live in sheltered housing and are very reliant upon the service, particularly as the main bus services are a steep climb uphill.
Cllr Macpherson added that he was grateful to Cllr Derek Scott from the Ferry Ward for his highlighting similar concerns about the impact of the loss of the 69 service in Broughty Ferry.
Cllr Macpherson said, “After a rather frantic week of discussions to try to get a satisfactory solution to this issue, I am pleased that we have a way forward. It will allow a minimum of three return trips each day on both the 69 and 72 services along the existing routes. Stagecoach had already indicated it would be prepared to run a reduced route service along the eastern part of the 72 route and their Operations Manager has confirmed to me that it will proceed with this in addition to the three full-route return journeys per day.
“The report to the Recess Sub-Committee will recommend that the Council assists this initially to the end of the current financial year to allow the services to be promoted during that time to encourage greater use and it also gives the City Council time to progress proposals for community transport to assist different communities across the City who do not have easy access to the main bus services.
“I am extremely grateful to all my constituents in the West End who highlighted the impact the loss of the 72 service, particularly Friends of Magdalen Green and West End Community Council. The fact that a petition of 526 people was collected in just a few days highlights the strength of feeling on this issue. I am also grateful to Cllr Derek Scott for raising similar concerns about the impact in parts of Broughty Ferry had the 69 service been completely withdrawn.
The matter will now be discussed at the City Council’s Recess Sub-Committee on 11th August where a report on the proposals will be tabled. Thereafter, subject to approval, City Council officers and Stagecoach Strathtay will discuss finalised timetables. Cllr Macpherson said that, during a recent packed meeting of West End residents to discuss the future of the 72 service, the Operations Manager of Stagecoach Strathtay had agreed to meet again with residents once matters had progressed and Cllr Macpherson confirmed that he would be arranging this meeting for immediately after the matter has been discussed and hopefully approved at Council Committee.
In conclusion, Cllr Macpherson said, “Clearly the matter still requires committee approval and the proposal sees only a limited number of buses per day, but it’s a great step forward from the position a few days ago, when it looked likely these services would be lost.”
And, talking of the Evening Telegraph, tonight’s paper includes my comments on the result of the Glasgow East by-election (click on headline above to view). A total disaster for Labour and I’d rather not be the Labour MP for Dundee West … The LibDems got horribly squeezed but given past results in similar circumstances (eg Hamilton South) I suppose I should be unsurprised. Ian Robertson, our candidate, performed well (as, in all fairness, did Margaret Curran, but the tide was otherwise).
I’ll leave it to Ian to give the final word, sent to all of us who are members of his Facebook page:
Thank you all for your support and kind words. We fought an excellent campaign in the constiuency where I grew up and which means so much to me.
The result was unexpected and not great for the party but the ‘squeeze’ was brutal and there was no more we could have done.
An excellent team were behind all our efforts and they deserve huge praise for the positive and impressive campaign we ran.
Normality beckons now and a few well earned weeks off before I return to my new electronic smartboard and the great kids of Bellahouston Academy.
Feel free to leave this group now and I will dismantle it with a tear in my eye shortly!
Scottish Liberal Democrat