Dumfries and Galloway Council have stepped in to plug a gap in bus connections to Annan Road in Dumfries , following the decision by Stagecoach to cut services in the area.
Under Stagecoach plans the existing No.3 Georgetown to Dumfries Town Centre service is being merged with the No.4 Lochvale to Dumfries Town Centre service from 2 December to provide a combined No.4 Georgetown/Lochvale to Dumfries Town Centre bus.
The merger will mean a 20 minute frequency, compared to the 30 minute frequency of the existing two services but it will mean a longer trip for passengers as the service has to travel all the way around both Georgetown and Lochvale.
It will also mean that Annan Road will be completely excluded from the new Stagecoach Georgetown/Lochvale service and residents there would have had to rely solely on the infrequent Dumfries to Annan bus if they wished to travel into Dumfries town centre. However, following representations from local Labour councillors in Lochar and Nith Ward, Dumfries and Galloway Council has stepped in and announced they will run one of their own buses during school hours to cover Annan Road. This will mean the return of a 30 minute service to the area during the day.
The move has been welcomed by Councillor Colin Smyth, who is also Chair of the Council’s Planning, Housing and Environment Services Committee which deals with transport issues. He said, ”The decision by Stagecoach to miss out Annan Road as a result of the merger of the Georgetown and Lochvale services was utterly shocking and would have left local residents relying entirely on the infrequent Annan to Dumfries bus just to get in and out of Dumfries town centre. The cut is service was one made entirely by Stagecoach because it is a commercial service, so nothing to do with the council. However, the council should be congratulated for stepping in to fill the gap left in the Annan Road area. Although this extra service is only during school times, because it utilises the school bus fleet, it will mean that there will once again be buses from Annan Road to the town centre and back every thirty minutes, which is welcome news for local residents”.
Fellow Nith Ward Councillor John Martin also welcomed the move. He said,” This is a really positive development and at least returns a regular daytime service to and from the Annan Road area. It won’t fill every gap left by the merger of the Georgetown and Lochvale bus, for example residents in the Carthagena area of Georgetown will still need to walk up Oakfield Drive to access the bus from 2 December. But it does cover the area most affected by the cut in service by Stagecoach so is good news. We still have the ridiculous situation where because of the Stagecoach changes, buses will go down streets such as Georegtown Road and Calside Road on the opposite side of the road to the bus stops on those streets. Not only would it cost the council a lot of money to move the bus stops across the road, in some instances that just isn’t practical because there is no space to move them to. Stagecoach really should re-think this proposal”