Local SNP Politicians have welcomed the decision by First Bus to keep the X1 route following its review period.
Last year a decision to scrap the service outright was reversed after near unanimous public outcry from local communities and elected members. A public petition by Rebecca Creechan reached over 4,600 signatures.
Following this decision, the service was put under review until the end of February. During this period First Bus conducted a public awareness campaign to draw attention to the benefits of travelling on the X1 and highlighting the inclusion of their new £3.50 discounted off-peak FirstDay tickets, which also covers travel for two children on Saturdays. These initiatives have brought the route back in to a stable financial position, meaning the X1 is here to stay.
Local elected members stressed the crucial link that the X1 provides to so many communities and groups of people across Hamilton and in January they urged the public to use the X1 to help secure its future.
First Bus came to the decision to spare the service the axe following a meeting with local politicians on 11th February at their Caledonia Depot in Glasgow.
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “I am absolutely delighted that the future of the X1 service has been secured thanks in huge part to the huge groundswell of support from local communities across Hamilton and the surrounding towns. This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when we work together.
“Throughout this period, I have had so many messages from those who use the service for so many different things. Whether that is getting to university, to work in Glasgow or simply for a trip in to Hamilton town centre. I have no doubt they will be delighted to hear the news.
“And if you have never travelled by bus before and are tired of trying to find a parking space in Glasgow then why not give the X1 a try yourself?”
Angela Crawley, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East said:
“This is fantastic news for so many people from across Hamilton who were concerned that this vital service could be cut.
“Public transport is vital in connecting people and communities, tackling social isolation as well as climate change.
“I am delighted that the service has been saved and pay tribute to the local people who organised a campaign, gathered thousands of petition signatures and persuaded First to change their mind.”
Margaret Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West added:
“We are urging as many people as possible to use the X1 service in the coming weeks. With the service up for review by First Bus at the end of February, it is crucial to the long-term future of the X1 route that we do not see a drop-off in passenger numbers.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that communities across Hamilton have access to frequent bus services. Routes like the X1 are essential to keep people connected, as well as helping to fight climate change by encouraging people to choose buses over cars.”
“Together, we can secure the X1 for the future.”
Councillor Josh Wilson said:
“This news will come as a relief to my constituents, many of whom rely on the X1 to get to work, university or college.
“Despite it seeming likely that First would cancel the service, the community came together and changed their mind.
“Well done to everyone involved in the campaign and let’s make sure we use the service when we can.”
Council Leader John Ross said:
“So happy to hear this good news, this service provides a very necessary lifeline to those that work and attend studies in Glasgow as well as for older passengers such as myself.
“I hope the additional publicity given to the service will result in a long term increase in passenger numbers. Well done to everyone who made their views known on its future.”
Councillor Mary Donnelly said,
“I welcome the decision of first bus to retain this very vital service. It is a lifeline for many of my elderly constituents who access this service on a daily basis. I am keen to continue to promote constituents to use service in future. Both high Earnock Residents Association and Hillhouse Community Council have both been key in their efforts to save the service.”