Barrhead parents have raised concerns for their children’s safety after East Renfrewshire Council pulled the plug on a long-running school bus service.

Families living in streets such as Gateside Crescent, Lochlibo Crescent and Lochlibo Terrace have spoken out after the end of the transport to St John’s and Cross Arthurlie Primaries.

Both schools are roughly a 30 minute-walk away, along a route involving the busy A736, which has been described as “treacherous” and “notorious”.

The local authority, however, said the decision, which was implemented at the beginning of this term, followed a recent review of school walking routes which identified that there is “now a safe route to schools for people living in this area, due to pedestrian lights being in place on the main road.”

Barrhead News: Lochlibo RoadLochlibo Road (Image: Newsquest)

Dad-of-four Allan Cathcart, whose daughter Leia, 9, is in P5 at St John’s, said: “The bus been going for 40 years. My three older kids, who are in their twenties, all had the school bus.

“The amount of lorries and wagons that come down the A736, a main artery, it’s horrific and then you can add in the rain, fog, snow and ice.

“It’s going to be dark leaving and coming home at times as well.

“We are not on a gritted route up here, so it's going to be quite a challenge coming into the winter months."

“The problem we've got as well is we don't have any public transport now going by St John's because they (McGill’s) took away the circular (52) bus earlier this year,” he added.

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An email seen by the Barrhead News from ERC confirmed that provision had been put in place in the past “on the basis of safety and was not linked to distance.”

This provision it said was linked to an assessment a number of years ago which highlighted the lack of a suitable crossing at the junction of Lochlibo Road, Neilston Road and Kelburn Street.

Ahead of the new school session 2023/24, however, “an audit of all existing transport had been undertaken to ensure continued eligibility for everyone accessing transport”.

As part of this audit, the above junction was reassessed by the council's health and safety team and with the introduction of the pedestrian crossing several years ago, the route was found to now meet the safe walking guidelines, removing the need for transport to continue to be provided for pupils.

“There's another 18 junctions unmanned and there's only one lollipop man and that's down at the school,” added Allan.

“The kids still have to cross in rush hour traffic.

"I hate to go down that road, but I also think we've got a right to know any if there are any paedophiles or dangers along the way.

“We offered to pay to subsidise the bus and they just said no, it was coming out of circulation altogether.”

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Echoing Allan’s concerns, mum-of-two Kirsty Adam whose older son is in P4, said: “The bus bonded all of the kids together.

“From a safety point of view, as they get older, I wouldn’t be happy for my kids to do that length of a walk themselves.”

A further parent, who asked not to be named and whose 9-year-old daughter attends Cross Arthurlie, said: “I have witnessed cars jumping the lights and the speed they go at as well.

“It scares the life out of me in the morning. All it takes is for somebody to take their eyes off the road for two seconds.

“It's very congested and that's when people get impatient.

“My fear as well is that the A736 is basically a road to nowhere. It's taking you away on a very isolated route.”

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A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council added: “All routes are assessed by our trained health and safety experts based on children being accompanied by an adult.

“In line with our Home to School Transport policy, those living within two miles of their allocated primary school are not eligible for transport.

“The policy brings together existing practice in place across the area and aims to bring consistency and fairness for all."