by Hannah Roger

A VITAL Anniesland bus service is under threat just five months after it was introduced.

The M4 service, run by First Bus, was put on late last year to plug gaps in the route after they removed part of the 4A’s journey.

Now the bus giant says it is losing money on the service, which runs hourly from Anniesland and Partick bus station via Kelvindale and Hyndland.

When it was introduced in October, it was anticipated the service would take passengers on around 2,000 trips a week, meaning they would break even in terms of costs. However bosses say they are only able to cover around 50 per cent of the route’s running costs, and are subsidising it with around £1,100 a week.

The route for the service was altered in December, and First Bus agreed to continue it for a six-month trial period, which is due to finish in a month’s time, after which point First says it will have to review its options.

A letter seen by our sister title the Evening Times from the firm states: “given the continued significant low use of the service, it seems very likely that the service will be deregistered and discontinued following the deregistration period (10 weeks)”.

First Bus has vowed to contact transport firm SPT to discuss options for the route, and whether it could be eligible for support under social guidelines.

SNP MSP Bob Doris, who has been carrying out a consultations with locals on the M4 service in the hope of extending it, said: “I was in the process of arranging a meeting with First Glasgow to discuss the results of my parliamentary consultation on local bus services when the news emerged that First Glasgow were looking to axe the M4 service in around 10 weeks.

“That is a premature decision by First Glasgow and I have urged them to reconsider. Given around 400 constituents have contacted my office sharing their views on how the route could be improved, I would hope the company will engage in a meaningful way.

“I have been working hard to retain a bus service in Kelvindale since First Glasgow decided to withdraw the previous 4A service. Following representations First Glasgow pledged to trial a new M4 replacement service but with a frequency of only an hour and some issues over the route and timetabling it always looked quite fragile.”

A First Glasgow spokesman said: “First Glasgow committed to a trial period of six months for the current revised M4 service and during this trial phase we promised to keep those stakeholders updated on passenger numbers, which we have done.

“Despite committing resource and effort to this service, and the subsequent public attention during this trial period, we are disappointed that the service continues to fall well short of the minimum number of passengers required to make it sustainable for the future.

“Our most recent email to stakeholders was part of this commitment, and highlighted that passenger uptake has not been to the level that we all hoped for.Prior to any decision regarding the future of the service, we will again meet with Mr Doris, other local stakeholders and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, to discuss available options.”