Local elected members in the Hamilton area have met with First Bus on Friday 14th August to continue to push for First Glasgow to withdraw attempts to axe the X1 service

Christina McKelvie MSP, Angela Crawley MP and Margaret Ferrier joined a South Lanarkshire organised meeting with First Glasgow to discuss their plans to cancel the X1 service. Issues raised at the meeting included some of the challenges facing the route in a post-COVID world, what changes could be made to the route to improve its viability and the importance of the X1 to communities across Hamilton and the surrounding towns.

The X1 was temporarily suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and on Friday 3rd July, First announced to stakeholders that they would be withdrawing a number of marginal routes across Glasgow and the surrounding areas – including the X1.

This is not the first time the X1 service has been under threat. The route was placed under a review period which took place from October 2019 until February 2020. The service was saved when extra promotion for the X1 including increased marketing and off-peak fare incentives led to an uplift in passenger numbers.

Christina McKelvie MSP, Angela Crawley MP and Margaret Ferrier MP previously met with the senior management at First Glasgow on 17th July and questioned the decision to axe the route, highlighting the continuing support for the X1 service from communities across Hamilton.

Commenting MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Christina McKelvie said:

“I would like to thank South Lanarkshire Council for organising this meeting with First Bus to allow local elected members to make their strength of feeling on local routes incredibly clear.

“I once again reiterated how vital the X1 service to people across Hamilton, with students and workers using the route to commute into Glasgow. It is a key social link for many of my constituents, for example, many residents living in the High Earnock area would otherwise struggle to travel to Hamilton or Glasgow by alternative public transport.

“Myself and my colleagues are currently waiting on information about the X1 route from our previous meeting with First Glasgow. Once we receive this we will meet again with First to explore what options are available to secure the continued running of the X1 service.”

Angela Crawley MP for Lanark and Hamilton East said:

 “Since First Bus announced their decision to cancel the X1, I have been inundated by constituents concerned at the removal of this vital service.

 “As students return to University and College and employees return to the workplace, their commute will be harder and more expensive.

 “We are committed to building a green recovery from Covid-19 and encouraging people to utilise public transport is a key part of that.

 “That is why it is so important that First reverse their premature decision.”

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier said:

“The X1 service is a lifeline for my constituents and they want reassurance that they will have accessible public transport options, as we start to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.  

“Dropping the X1 will do nothing to help my constituents get to where they need to be, especially as we start to travel more as lockdown eases. Their quality of life is at stake here and FirstBus must not abandon this vital link for residents in Hillhouse, Fairhill and High Earnock. 

“The uplift in passenger numbers prior to the pandemic demonstrates that demand can be restored for the X1 when restrictions fully lift. We will need clean, green buses in the future to help fight climate change and some more ambition from FirstBus can help build that sustainable future for public transport after coronavirus.”