The operators of one of the few remaining bus services to still have conductors, or clippies, have announced they will not return.
Union bosses say 31 workers are at risk of redundancy after Stagecoach East Scotland confirmed the decision for its number 73 route, which travels between Arbroath and Ninewells Hospital, blaming the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
It is understood the route was one of the only remaining bus services outside of London still to run with its own dedicated conductor, almost 40 years after most other bus services turned to being staffed only by a driver.
Stagecoach East Scotland, which covers the Tayside area, said the decision was “unavoidable” but said the clippies on number 73 were a “proud” part of its history.
She said: “We’re pleased to continue offering regular and reliable services for our customers travelling across east Scotland.
“Following a review of our operations, we have made the decision not to reintroduce the conductor role on our 73 route.
“This will have no impact on the operation of our bus services, and customers will still be able to buy their tickets as normal from the driver, or in advance via our website or app.”
However, the operator is “strongly encouraging” customers to use contactless payment wherever possible.
The spokeswoman added: “This is consistent with the service we provide on our bus services across the rest of the country.
“We know our conductors on the 73 route have been a well-loved part of our community and a proud part of our history.
“However, as is the case with many organisations, we are taking very difficult but unavoidable decisions to manage the impact of Covid-19.
“At the same time, we are continuing to ensure the safety of our people and customers and running the service our communities need.
“We will continue to help our people through this uncertain period.”
Unite said it was a “difficult and worrying” period for the affected staff.
David Lawson, regional officer, said: “Unite has been informed by Stagecoach East Scotland that 31 employees are at risk of redundancy on its 73 route.
“It goes without saying that this is a difficult and worrying period for the workforce but we will represent our members through the consultation period and we will work tirelessly to find alternative positions.”