Bus cuts force passengers to pay for 'unaffordable' taxis to work

Locals fear they may lose their jobs after McGills announced it was reducing timetables and axing Sunday services.

Bus passengers in West Lothian say they are facing the prospect of paying for taxis to get to work or risk losing their jobs after vital services are set to be cut.

From May 8, bus company McGills will reduce timetables, as well as cancel journeys altogether on Sundays.

Dee Kelly from Whitburn relies on the bus service into Livingston to get to work.

She told STV News: “I might end up not being able to get to work on time – it’s awful. I am going to have to probably get a taxi to work on a Sunday – it’s about £20, I can’t afford that.”

Andrew McGuire also relies on the bus from Bathgate and said he also faces having to get a taxi to work on a Sunday.

He said: “I’m basically paying to go to work some days now.

“Basically everyone in the community either will be affected or knows someone who is going to be affected by these cuts.”

Dee Kelly said she may be forced to fork out for £20 taxis to work due to bus service cuts

From May 8, McGills buses will no longer serve Elburn and Deans South, Harthill, Blackridge, Greenrigg, and Shotts – and they will no longer be any services running on Sundays.

The company said the decision was based on cutting costs as well as a shortage of drivers – but that the needs of bus users are not being forgotten and that the measures will ensure a more reliable service than the current one.

Ralph Roberts, CEO of McGills, said: “I understand the problems that it’s going to cause with very early journeys and very late journeys and also on a Sunday.

“But if people can work round about that for a period of time we will build it back to the type of operation we operate everywhere else.

“We haven’t just cut it loose and decided that we’re just going to wait and see. We are invested in this and we really want to find a solution both for the short term and for the long term.”

The impact of cuts to bus services have been felt across Scotland, with a number of other operators increasing ticket prices as part of the post-Covid recovery and due to lower customer numbers.

West Lothian Council said it will subsidise a number of routes to Greenbrigg and to Blackbridge but very early morning, evening and weekend services will not be covered.  

Councillor Tom Conn said: “Clearly funding issue need to be addressed.

“The Scottish Government has issued passes to under 22s and over 60s but if there’s not a bus service there’s no point having a bus pass – you need a pass and a service to properly get around West Lothian and further afield.”

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