Campaigners want village bus route restored

The 254 service which runs from Motherwell to Newarthill has had its route shortened.
The 254 service which runs from Motherwell to Newarthill has had its route shortened.

A campaign group trying to revitalise Newarthill has written to First Glasgow with three options to fully restore a bus service in the village.

The route of the 254/255 service from Motherwell/Glasgow to Newarthill previously took in the whole village, however due to cost cutting First has decided to no longer maintain the turning circle on the road to Newhouse.

As a result the route has been trimmed down and now only runs to the Tillanburn area of the village.

Re:Newarthill secretary Linda Jane McLean said: “I have been a resident here for 14 years, residing proximal to the terminal turning point, and have witnessed no effort being made by First Bus to maintain the site.

“While they may believe the Tillanburn loop to be the solution, I have received three very distressed calls due to the 80 buses a day going through Tillanburn in Newarthill, while the north end of the town has no service whatsoever.

“I would also question if it is legal for First to withdraw services from such a large section of the neighbourhood without consultation?”

The three options Re:Newarthill puts forward include continuing the service to Greenside Garden Centre which would also take in the soon to open Viridor.

Another option would be to run to the The Cooperative Distribution Centre in Newhouse which employs about 1,000 people, but has no direct service to Newarthill, Carfin or Motherwell.

The third option would see the second option expanded to also take in Auchinlea and Terex.

Linda Jane said: “It seems First looked at a map, but failed to understand the problems of the people on the ground.

“Rather than engage and consult, and meet needs, they drew the least expensive route - I hope they think again as cheap is not always best!”

A First Glasgow spokeswoman said: “Given the challenging economy, cuts in funding and rising costs, we review our services on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining the terminal point at the north end of Newarthill coupled with low passenger numbers meant we needed to consider other options.

“I can assure customers we carefully considered a range of alternatives, but concluded operating the service in the Tillanburn area, where demand is much greater, is the most suitable route for this service.”