Antonshill residents call for bus company to reverse decision to scrap service

Calls have been made for a bus company to reverse its plan to terminate a service heavily relied upon by pensioners.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 12:20 pm

Antonshill Residents Association (ARA) is pulling out all the stops to make First Bus reconsider its proposal to scrap the Number 7 which serves Antonshill, Larbert and Stenhousemuir.

The company is looking at getting rid of the route due to its “very low demand” at a time when it needs to reduce costs due to the coronavirus crisis.

However, ARA members say elderly residents will become cut off from vital amenities if the bus service ends.

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First Bus is considering getting rid of its Number 7 service for Antonshill. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Billy Paterson, ARA chairman, said: “The Antonshill area contains the highest percentage of ‘old folks housing’ in the whole of Stenhousemuir and Larbert and those more elderly residents are certainly the ones being hardest hit by this decision.

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“We’ve produced a detailed alternative to the current ‘no bus’ situation. The plan doesn’t involve extra cost to First Bus.

“The association’s current fly in the ointment is getting someone from First to at least look it over.”

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Midland, said: “Like many other companies throughout the world, First Midland has been impacted by the pandemic and is facing one of the most challenging and unprecedented periods ever.

“We have tried to react quickly to the challenges presented throughout the pandemic with innovation as well as the safety of our staff and customers being at the forefront.

“The pandemic means we must make difficult decisions to protect the long-term continuity of the business and this means it is crucial that we prioritise all resource to where it is most needed and alleviate the challenges caused by social distancing restrictions, also ensuring services have sufficient capacity where passenger volumes are increasing.

“With that in mind, we are currently reviewing some marginal routes from our overall network, which are simply no longer viable to run in the current climate.

“No final decisions have been made in regard to the Service 7 or any other service, but I can confirm it is one of the services we will be reviewing over the coming weeks due to very low demand.

“Now, given the given the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on passenger volumes and the requirement for social distancing reducing the ability to carry the passenger volumes needed, there is now an urgent need to focus resource where it is needed in areas of the network where demand is increasing.”

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