NEILSTON community chiefs have called on operators to put the brakes on buses blocking a pedestrian crossing at a busy section of the High Street – which they fear puts the public at risk.

They say danger is caused when two McGill’s buses park at the town centre stop at the same time because there is only room for one – especially during funerals at nearby St Thomas’s Church when congestion is high.

The crossing, used by pedestrians, shoppers and worshippers going to and from the church, is only yards from a stop on the main route to Barrhead.

Neilston Community Council (NCC) has also questioned the length of time buses wait at the stop.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has been asked to monitor the situation.

At a recent meeting of the community council, a member said he had seen a bus reverse into a safety barrier at the stop while two had been parked there.

NCC chairman John Scott said:“This causes a major hazard as the pedestrian crossing is obstructed. It also causes problems when there are funeral services at the church, since the hearse and cars are unable to park close to the church entrance.”

“Regrettably, the [bus] drivers respond somewhat aggressively if asked to make space.”

East Renfrewshire councillor Tony Buchanan, who raised the issues with SPT on behalf of the community council, added: “The problem is that. When two buses park there at the same time, there is no leeway – and, occasionally, private cars will be parked there, adding to the problem.”

“There have also been complaints about buses being parked there too long.”

Cllr Buchanan said SPT had sent inspectors to monitor the situation but he was not satisfied with their response – which ruled buses only parked at the problem site for “up to three minutes”.

He added: “They sent me a short email, saying they had seen buses parked there for up to three minutes or longer.

“However, I have asked to see the report they drew up after the visit because it doesn’t tie in with what people are telling me about the length of time some buses are sitting there for.”

The community council also disputed SPT’s findings, with one member suggesting they keep a video diary to show the actual length of time buses were sitting there.

Mr Scott said: “When the crossing was installed, complaints were raised that the siting was inappropriate and would interfere with funeral arrangements at St Thomas’s, and so it has been proved.”

A McGill’s spokeswoman said the company has three routes servicing this bus stop – the number 3, 395/396 and 54, which meant two buses have to share the stop once an hour.

However she said an internal investigation off the back of the complaints revealed they did not cause an obstruction.

She added: “The frequency of these services means that once an hour, for between four to five minutes, two buses can be in the stop at the same time. At all other times, there is only one bus serving the stop across the day.

“Our depot manager has monitored the situation closely following the comments of the community council and SPT and he has confirmed that these buses do not cause any obstruction, even when two buses are in the lay-by at the same time.

“We do understand that there are parking and congestion issues when a funeral is taking place in the nearby St Thomas’s Church.

“Our investigation did reveal that some of our drivers suggest that, during funerals, the hearse on occasion sits in the dedicated bus bay and prevents access for our buses.

“Given that the church has its own car parking facilities within its grounds for use by any funeral cars or additional traffic, we would respectfully request that the church closely monitors usage of these spaces and that funeral traffic is encouraged to use these spaces and those in front of the church, rather than the bus bay.”

She added that the firm is willing to meet community councillors to discuss any further concerns.