A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save a bus service which provides a “lifeline” for elderly residents in Barrhead and Neilston.

Stagecoach plan to axe their X44 service at the start of next month, leaving a number of East Renfrewshire passengers more isolated.

The route is the only link between East Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire and also provides local residents with access to Silverburn shopping centre and Glasgow city centre.

Jake Neill has organised a petition in a bid to convince Stagecoach bosses to perform a U-turn, with more than 100 signatures gathered.

He insists scrapping the service will have a significant impact on connectivity.

Jake, 21, told the Barrhead News: “There are about 20 people I see get on this bus at Barrhead and a lot of them use it to get to Silverburn.

“Also, Neilston is quite isolated and people there rely on the bus. I often see a gentleman and a lady in a wheelchair get on, so it’s a lifeline for people like them.”

Stagecoach insist there aren’t enough passengers using the X44 service to make it sustainable – a claim disputed by Jake.

“Older people who have free bus passes are heavily dependent on this service,” he said.

“I just think that, when Stagecoach make a decision like this, they don’t realise the impact it has on passengers. People in Barrhead, Neilston and Irvine all depend on this service.

“The X44 has been operating since before I was born. After so many years, they’ve now decided to axe it. Remote places like Lugton will be the worst affected.”

With the service due to be axed on December 1, Jake is hoping his petition will make a difference.

“The most important thing is that Stagecoach listen to what is being said,” Jake added. “If this service goes, the effect will be massive. It has to stay.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach West Scotland said it is making changes to services in North Ayrshire and its express buses to Glasgow “in order to improve the overall customer experience.”

“During September, Stagecoach actively engaged with the public via consultation events in Saltcoats, Irvine and Beith and through canvassing customers on board our services and by an online survey,” added the spokesperson.

“We can confirm there will be no reduction in service 25 in the Garnock Valley. Off-peak services from Ardrossan and the Garnock Valley will operate hourly, with our off-peak X36 service from Beith to Glasgow doubling in frequency to every half hour.

“Passengers on the 25 service to Beith can remain on the same bus, which will alter to an X36 in Beith. Passengers travelling between Irvine and Glasgow will be able to do so on our newly-extended X76 service via Kilmarnock.

“Unfortunately, services X11 and X44 continue to have low passenger numbers and, as there are alternative services that this small proportion of our passengers can use instead, we can no longer continue to operate these non-commercially viable services.”