Petition to keep the x5 on the road gathers support

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 12:41 on 20 September 2015


The service changes come in next month. Pic: Scott Campbell for Cumbernauld Media.

THE axe looms over a number of local bus services, with less than one month to go until a number of heavily opposed changes to Cumbernauld’s bus services are brought in by First Glasgow. 

The Aberdeen-based transport operator has announced that a raft of service changes will come into effect from October 18th, with services in Cumbernauld due to be overhauled. 

As part of the service revision, First Glasgow will scrap the x5 Abronhill to Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station service, via North Carbrain service, while the x3 will no longer serve Seafar, operating on a reduced timetable at the same time.

First Glasgow has also announced that the 36 and 36A services will be replaced by the new 38C service, which will operate a slimmed down version of the existing 36 route.

Citing passenger demand and the cost effectiveness of services as the main reason for the revision of their Cumbernauld routes, First Glasgow claims that the remaining services will be “improved.”

“These changes are designed to ensure that the services we provide continue to match passenger demand,” a spokesperson for First Glasgow explained.

“As part of these changes some services will be improved and in a small number of cases, unfortunately services will be withdrawn due to low passenger usage.

“Where we are having to discontinue a service, the number of passengers using the service has declined to the point that it no longer meets the cost of operating the service. 

“In most cases an alternative First Glasgow service will still exist, and where this is not the case, other operators already provide an alternative services. 

“In these cases, where possible we have included details of the alternatives but passengers should check that these directly match their travel requirements,” they added. 

For one Cumbernauld resident, however, the decision by First Glasgow is one revision too many. 

Condorrat resident Sarah Jacqueline Fitzpatrick has set up a petition to illustrate the community’s anger and concern at the decision made by First Glasgow, which she feels was made in secret.

Today, the petition has passed 900 signatures, with the document’s supporters putting their name to an appeal which calls on First to “stop” their revisions going ahead.

The text of the petition reads: “From October the 17th 2015, the X5 service that runs from Abronhill to Glasgow will be withdrawn by First Bus. This is because it is "cost effective". 

“If this were to happen, it means that the Condorrat Ring Road will have no means of getting into town for its residents. Stagecoach run the X28 that passes through this area, however the buses are only a one decker and stop at 7.20pm which can be inconvenient to those who travel in the evenings. 

“If First Bus do decide to axe this service, the young, the elderly, those who are disabled, students, and working people are unable to get into town accessibly from their homes. “

The statement pleads with the community to help “stop First Bus from doing this as many of us rely on the X5 every-day.”

It adds: “Cutting the X5 is not saving money; it's causing concern and slight panic in Cumbernauld. The more people that voice their concerns, the more of a chance we have saving this service. Thank you.”

Speaking to Cumbernauld Media, the petition’s creator has explained her “frustration and confusion” at First Glasgow’s decision.

Graduate student Sarah Jacqueline Fitzpatrick told us that she started her petition from “frustration and confusion”, explaining her feeling that First Glasgow “seemed to have decided on their plans without telling anybody beforehand. Instead, they told people after a decision was made, merely claiming that the revisions would be ‘cost effective’.”

Ms Fitzpatrick labelled the language of cost effectiveness used by First “confusing”, adding: “there is a lot of people who use the x5 service. 

“The service operates a double decker bus, for instance, yet at most times trying to get a seat (particularly in the mornings) is an impossibility. It’s so busy, and not just in the morning – people use the services at night too.”

The 22-year-old explained how she created the petition in the “hope” that it would “maybe lead to a reaction, or perhaps a direct response from First Bus.

She explained: “I realise that a deal has already been done, then there’s the difficulty of getting all of Cumbernauld on board, being such a big community that it is. Despite all that, I felt it was better to do something, rather than to just sit around and complain.

“My petition is really just to show First Bus that people aren’t happy with what they’re doing,” Sarah added. 

Responding to First Glasgow’s statement that “other operators already provide an alternative service” in the area, Sarah said: “A number of problems will still exist when First Bus take the x5 service off the road. 

“Earlier buses for people who start work before 7am, and the later buses at night will disappear, while there’s the issue of accessibility of the buses themselves. Stagecoach buses aren’t exactly accessible for the elderly, the infirm and disabled people are they?” she added.

Criticising the quietness with which First Glasgow made their decision, the former student said: “Stagecoach have to live up to a lot of things, and there are still a lot of questions that are still unanswered. 

For example, are Stagecoach going to provide more services? Will there be early and late services? Will there be more buses on the routes? Obviously it’s still earlier days, but until the operators have clearly put a plan in place, and people need to know what’s going on.”

Ms Fitzpatrick’s petition can be viewed via the website, or by clicking here.

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