Dundee administration councillors have been accused of hypocrisy after praising a bus firm for stepping up to plug a gap left by a service they voted to scrap last month.
SNP councillors Alan Ross and Lynne Short have praised Xplore Dundee’s plan to re-route its 4 service to take in Magdalen Yard Road and Windsor Street.
Xplore bosses say the decision will benefit users of the 204, which is being axed next month to save the council £40,000.
But eldely locals who use the route to attend appointments at Ninewells Hospital say the move does not cater for them.
Mr Ross, newly appointed city development convener, said: “This is a welcome intervention by Xplore Dundee and the council will be working with the company to assist them in exploring this amendment to the route.”
Ms Short said on Twitter: “Well done to @XploreDundee for their supportive actions. Now as a community we need to support them and use the bus #DundeeFairness.”
Delighted that the Q I raised at committee regarding the commercial viability of a route that is obviously popular being picked up & mainstreamed. Well done to @XploreDundee for their supportive actions! Now as a community we need to support them & use the ?. #DundeeFairness https://t.co/YIONbxXtU8
— Lynne R Short (@LynnesnpR) July 10, 2019
However, West End Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson has slammed the administration as being “out of touch”.
All 14 SNP councillors, together with the Lord Provost, voted to proceed with scrapping the 204, seeing off a bid by the Lib Dem to bin the plans agreed in February.
Mr Macpherson said: “It is astonishing this is coming from the very councillors who axed the 204 bus in the first place.
“As for #DundeeFairness, is Councillor Short unaware that all the 204 bus users in other parts of the route west of Windsor Street are still without a bus?
“Fairness is exactly what is lacking from this out of touch and failing SNP administration.”
He added: “The council is not off the hook on the 204 issue because, very welcome as the re-routing of Service 4 is, it only covers part of the 204 route. Its handling of the 204 issue has been a public relations disaster.”
Local residents say the West End “Blether Bus” – a hop on/off service for over-60s that will run during school hours – will not serve them as well as the 204.
Jeanetta Black, who pleaded with councillors to reverse their decision, is among those who feel they are losing out.
“The reason the council wants to use these buses is because the drivers have time between drop off and pick up of the children – not for the good of elderly and the disabled,” she said.
Transport officer Mark Devine told a consultation at Corso Street Sheltered Housing yesterday that the service “is not a replacement” for the 204.
He said: “The Blether Bus is designed to compliment other services. It will never replace the 204. This is just a resource the council has access to.” He added: “There is a lot of unhappiness (among locals) about the 204 being ripped from them.”
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Blether Buses already run in Lochee and Coldside, linking communities otherwise not served by bus to local services. However, the vehicles are not wheelchair accessible.
Mr Devine hinted that there could be an accessible vehicle available for the council’s use to counter concerns among residents with mobility issues.
“The buses aren’t wheelchair accessible, but we do have vehicles which are accessible. If we felt said vehicle would be welcomed we could make that vehicle available,” he said.
Dundee City Council would not say if an accessible vehicle was available.
A spokeswoman only said: “We are gathering views from the community to shape how the Blether Bus will operate in the West End. We will consider all views expressed during the consultation.”