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October 7, 2015

Transport affects your health

Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament launched an enquiry into the impact of loneliness and isolation on the elderly. The final report is due later this autumn but a clear link to physical and mental wellbeing is widely accepted. Speaking yesterday at a conference on this issue, John Macdonald of Community Transport Association argued that transport provision, or the lack of it, is all too often ignored as a causal factor. A reality that anyone over a certain age in the Sighthill area of Glasgow is just waking up to. 


Stewart Paterson, Evening Times

RESIDENTS and a Glasgow MSP are concerned that plans to axe a bus service will leave elderly and infirm people isolated.

First Bus plans to divert its number 10 service away from Sighthill in the north of the city to make journeys quicker for people in other areas.

The bus giant said not enough people are using the bus in Sighthill and plans to stop entering the community in two weeks.

Maryhill and Springburn MSP Patricia Ferguson said the bus industry need to be re-regulated to ensure unprofitable routes are not sacrificed for more lucrative ones.

One local resident contacted First about the change and was told despite being aware of the inconvenience it would cause in order to benefit others the only full service in Sighthill was being withdrawn.

First said the “customer base” in Sighthill had reduced in recent years.

The reply said: “We consider that the forthcoming route change will ensure that the majority of our passengers who do not board or alight in Sighthill will benefit from a speedier journey to and from the city centre.”

Ms Ferguson however said more housing has been built in Sighthill and even more is planned.

She said: “This is the only bus in Sighthill except a small community transport bus that goes to the Tesco supermarket and the Royal Infirmary, but it stops at half two in the afternoon.

The redevelopment plans for the area include a bus turning circle but there will be no bus.

Re-regulation of the bus industry is the solution to ensure profit is not the only consideration in running services.”

Last month the Evening Times reported how residents in Possilpark were outraged at plans to cut the M3 bus through Westercommon to an hourly service, fearing it would eventually be cut altogether.

A First Glasgow spokesman, said: “Over recent years Sighthill has seen significant depopulation which has consequently had an impact on the demand for bus services. What housing remains, is largely situated next to the Springburn Expressway where customers already benefit from up to 18 buses an hour to the City Centre. Most Sighthill residents currently choose to walk to the stop on the Expressway to take advantage of the high frequency.

“We have therefore, taken the decision to also route service 10 direct via the Springburn Expressway. This also means the vast majority of passengers, who board Service 10 from north of Sighthill will enjoy a more direct and faster journey to the City.

“We are aware of proposed redevelopment plans for the area which in the short term includes a plan to close the road through the estate. This means it would not have been feasible to operate service 10 via the estate during this period. However, we will keep our services closely under review as the redevelopment progresses.”