Bus passengers in a Dundee community who were left “high and dry” after their bus service was axed are welcoming its return.
One elderly resident said that the return of a bus service to the Tullideph and Ancrum Road areas meant she could finally get out and about again.
People living in the area lost their number 17 bus service earlier this year after Xplore Dundee re-routed it away from the area.
However, it has been announced that they are to get a new service, the 204, operated by Stagecoach. It will come into force on August 16.
Katherine Donaldson, 77, who lives in the area said the news would be welcome by the many elderly who live there.
Mrs Donaldson said: “I find it hard to walk very far as I use sticks.
“When they took the bus away I became more and more isolated.
“The pandemic made everything so much worse and for months I have been stuck at home.
“This means that I can get out and about again and go to visit friends much more easily who live in other parts of the city.
“I know that a lot of other older people feel exactly the same as me.”
Dorothy McHugh of Dundee Pensioners’ Forum said: “I’m delighted that the city council has recognised the importance of good access to bus services for the many older people in this area.
“Now that Covid-19 restrictions are beginning to ease, hopefully, this restored service will encourage them to step back outside and become part of their communities again.”
The news has also been welcomed by West End councillor Fraser Macpherson who has campaigned for the return of a service to the area.
Mr Macpherson said: “I’m delighted at the announcement that bus passengers in the Tullideph Road/Ancrum Road area are likely to again have a bus service near to them.
People were left high and dry
“They were left high and dry without a bus service for months following Xplore Dundee re-routing service 17 away from the area.
“The re-routing of service 17 earlier this year — so it now goes right along City Road — was really bad news for the Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road area as it left them without any bus service.
“I felt strongly that every effort should be made to serve Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road particularly because the Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing (with many elderly folk) has been left without easy access to a bus.”
New 204 service
He added: “The council is proposing a new 204 tendered bus service — a service number previously used — but this new service would cover a very different route and would miss out much of the old 204 route.
“However, the new 204 service route is sufficiently close to the Ancrum Road and Tullideph Road areas that it could be slightly re-routed to cover the area and this needs to be done, otherwise many residents and particularly older folk are left without any bus services.”
Councillor Macpherson said he recently took this to Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee when it was agreeing to bus tenders including the 204 and it was agreed that the viability of having the 204 cover parts of Tullideph Road and Ancrum Road would be looked at.
He said: “The issue is the high camber on the Ancrum Road/Logie Street junction that had to be road tested to ensure safe for a bus to use.”
August 16 start
A spokesman for the council’s Parking & Sustainable Transport department told Mr Macpherson: “The routes are currently being registered with the traffic commissioner and will start on August 16 2021.
“We have agreed the routing of the 204 with the operator (Stagecoach) so that it will operate via Tullideph Road. I am not expecting this to be rejected by the Traffic Commissioner’s office.
“We will prepare publicity for each of the new services and publicise via the council website in advance of the services operating and communicate with key stakeholders including elected members.
“I am hopeful of this all being completed next week.”
Mr Macpherson added: “This looks very positive in giving the Tullideph area a bus service back.
“I am not pretending it is perfect – it’ll be a daytime hourly service but it is a whole lot better than no bus service at all and I am grateful to transportation officers for taking on my route change suggestion.
“It is important that tendered bus services actually cover the areas that are isolated from bus services.
“Real practical action is needed to ensure the newly tendered services work for local people.
“It is also important that the older people across the city who relied on the currently suspended Blether Bus minibus service are given access to public transport and I am assured council officers are also working on that.”