200 furious pensioners lobbied public transport bosses on Monday afternoon and demanded they “give them their buses back”.
Elderly residents from throughout Dundee attended the city’s Maryatt Hall to quiz Xplore Dundee boss Elsie Turbyne and Stagecoach East Scotland commercial director Douglas Robertson on changes to bus services.
Representatives from Dundee City Council were also present at the heated meeting.
The public discussion was arranged after claims from pensioners that changes to bus timetables were leaving pensioners “prisoners in their own homes”.
Residents argue the cancellation of certain services, mainly deployed by Xplore, along with the restriction of others has made socialising and attending hospital appointments nearly impossible.
On Monday, pensioners accused Xplore of “discriminating against the elderly” with the removal of what they see as vital routes.
Several elderly public transport users told bosses they have had to resort to making expensive taxi trips to and from hospital due to “disgraceful” bus services in their area.
One resident, Julia Lawrence, said: “There are sheltered housing complexes where people don’t have a bus after quarter past two.
“In all, they have taken 20 buses away from our area. There is no consideration for the elderly and there are a lot of people confined to their houses. We could be doing with buses for later on in the afternoon.”
Bobbie Clark said: “The routes are currently ridiculous. There are five medical centres in the Stobswell area and we can’t get near any of them.
“They are making a profit, but it’s no good for the people using the buses. People are really really angry about what has happened to their bus service.
“We know Xplore has to make a profit, but we would also like to have some sort of public service included.”
Fellow bus user, Tam Wilson, said: “We’re not asking for God, we’re only asking for a decent bus service. They want us to all sit on the couch like potatoes and think never mind. But we have to get a bus.”
Xplore managing director Elsie Turbyne said: “We are quite clearly happy to speak with the council and with individual passenger groups.
“We very much sympathise with the elderly passengers and we take no pleasure in having to reduce the bus service, but it was forced on us by simple economics.
“We cannot have services that are not covering the cost. It was always going to be a difficult situation, but it was never one we were going to take pleasure from.
“People feel trapped in their own homes, but the reality of matters is that the patronage levels just don’t sustain us having a door to door service.”