Local elected members in Hamilton have reacted with fury to the decision by First Glasgow to cancel the X1 express link between Hamilton and Glasgow City Centre as part of withdrawal of a number of routes. First Glasgow announced the decision on Friday 3rd July without consultation citing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after the X1 was spared cancellation in February following public outcry from the local community and elected members, with a petition by Rebecca Creechan reaching over 4,600 signatures. First Glasgow had announced this decision after a meeting with local politicians on 11th February at their Caledonia Depot in Glasgow.
In response Christina McKelvie MSP, Angela Crawley MP and Margaret Ferrier MP have written to First Glasgow demanding an urgent meeting to highlight the demand that exists for the X1 service and the damage cancellation would cause to those returning to work from Hamilton and the surrounding area as lockdown eases.
Commenting Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said:
“For First Glasgow to cut the X1 service without any consultation with the community is entirely unacceptable.
”For many people in my Constituency this service is an absolute lifeline and with lockdown easing and more people across Hamilton returning to work the demand for the X1 will only increase.
“I will be raising my concerns directly with First Glasgow and highlighting the damage they will be doing to the local community if they attempt to follow through with their kneejerk decision to cancel the X1.”
Commenting, Angela Crawley MP for Lanark and Hamilton East said:
“I am extremely disappointed that First Bus have decided to remove this vital service with very little communication.
“After months of working alongside the company to promote the service, it is a slap in face to receive an email late on a Friday night advising of their decision.
“I understand the pressures on public transport as a result of lockdown and social distancing, but to scrap the service without understanding the demand is the wrong decision.
“Many of my constituents are returning to work as lockdown eases and more will attend college and university in September.
“That commute will be made more difficult and more passengers will be pushed onto busy trains as a result of First’s decision.
“I am seeking an urgent meeting to discuss their decision and to ask what contingency arrangements are in place to support my constituents as they commute to and from Glasgow city centre.””
Commenting Margaret Ferrier MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said:
“Cutting the X1 service sends out entirely the wrong message about our priorities as we start to ease lockdown and recover from Covid-19. Remobilising bus services safely is an essential part of getting our economy moving again and dropping the X1 will do nothing to help my constituents get to where they need to be.
“The X1 provides a lifeline for Hillhouse residents to get to Glasgow, a fact recognised by FirstBus when they decided to retain the service in February amid a public outcry. The demand is there for the X1 service and FirstBus needs to adapt their strategy to encourage safe and sustainable use of the X1, as more and more people return to work and leisure activities in the coming weeks.