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Axe hangs over 28 bus routes

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By Fiona Reid
Axe hangs over 28 bus routes

SCORES of evening and Sunday bus services in the region could be axed - in a bid to make necessary budget savings.

A total of 28 routes could be hit, with Sunday and evening services connecting Dumfries to Lockerbie, Carlisle, Dalbeattie, Georgetown, Summerhill and Lincluden among those under threat.
The move to be considered by The South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWestrans) today has been described as a potentially ‘devastating blow’ for many low-paid people in the region.
A spokeswoman for The Scottish Green Party said: “Shift workers like nurses, care workers and those employed in hospitality and tourism will find themselves unable to get to work and in some cases out of a job.
“While those who can afford it will turn to the car – therefore putting more cars on the road and increasing congestion and pollution – those who cannot will be isolated and cut off from economic and educational opportunities and from society at large.”
SWestrans say they undertook a major policy, root and branch review of local bus services in 2011, based on a descending importance of travelling for work, access to education, access to health, retail, transport connectivity and personal activity.
And it concluded any savings could be achieved by reducing provision based on the last three priorities, in reverse order.
Members will today be asked to agree to reduce the publicity budget by £10,000 and remove all Sunday journeys on the routes along with all Monday to Saturday journeys after 6 pm, as well as the 350 Stranraer to Cairnryan service, all from May 9.
In Dumfries itself, affected services would
include Lochvale/Georgetown, Crichton, Glencaple, Cargenbridge/Troqueer, Summerhill and Lincluden.
But it also affects connecting routes to Moffat, Moniaive and Thornhill.
The report says a ‘challenging financial settlement’ for Dumfries and Galloway Council had led to it reducing SWestrans’ budget for the next financial year by nine per cent, or £315,000.
SWestrans chairman Councillor Tom McAughtrie said: “The level of reduction required will have a significant impact on service provision and this will require a number of journeys to be removed from the network.
“The decision on such reduction is not something that will be taken lightly and SWestrans will seek to protect the core daytime journeys undertaken for our highest priority criteria of access to work, education and health.”


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