The temporary reinstatement of an axed West End bus service has been hailed as “excellent” news.
But it has sparked calls for a permanent solution to ensure the passengers who use the Xplore 4 are not cut adrift in the long term.
The service which was altered to replace some of the stops served by the 204, was due to be scrapped this month.
The news that it will be reintroduced comes less than two weeks before the roll-out of one of Dundee’s biggest bus service changes in the past 70 years, as Xplore looks to adapt beyond the pandemic.
West End councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “I am relieved and delighted at the news of the return of bus service 4 from January 25.
“The loss of this during the Covid-19 health emergency really impacted on older people in parts of the West End, particularly around Scott Street/Logie and Magdalen Green/Windsor Street.”
He said a long-term solution was needed as it also remained unclear whether the Blether Bus, which was introduced to cover some of the 204’s remaining stops, would return after it was axed at the beginning of the pandemic.
He added: “I have been advised by Xplore Dundee that from January 25, service 4 will operate to the route and the weekday only timetable that was in place prior to the pandemic.
“The ‘temporary’ period will last as long as Scottish Government funding is in place to support the provision of local bus services.”
The route takes in the Magdalen Yard Road, Windsor Street and Roseangle areas and was popular with older people who otherwise would have had to walk to the top of the Perth Road to catch a bus. It also served the Scott Street and Logie areas.
Mr Macpherson said he had written to the council’s head of sustainable transport and roads spelling out the need for a solution once government cash dries up.
He added: “I am also anxious to see action to help elderly residents in other parts of the West End where the suspension of the Blether Bus service has left residents without a service.
“This is real progress for the service 4 route and the passengers it serves but I will continue to pursue the need for a permanent bus solution – it is really vital for many elderly constituents.”
Meanwhile, a report by Xplore – published weeks before the firm was acquired by Greenock-based operator, McGills – has looked at the wider impact of the pandemic.
The report states: “In the short term (as long as government funding lasts), services will continue to run with full frequencies to support physical distancing.
“When this funding stops, however, bus services will once again need to raise enough revenue to cover basic costs such as driver pay, fuel and vehicle maintenance.
“The only significant way for us to economise resource is to slightly reduce frequencies on core services so that they require fewer vehicles to operate.
“Even with this, our plan still involves good-frequency services which follow simpler routes. On all core routes, in the long-run, buses will run up to every 10-15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays.”