As residents will recall, following the unfortunate removal some time ago of the 'old' 204 bus service that covered streets like Newhall Gardens, Invergowrie Drive and Glamis Drive, the council’s response was to establish the “Blether Bus” minibus service for older residents.
I strongly opposed the withdrawal of the old 204 as it was a better service than the Blether Bus. The previous version of the 204 went to both the City Centre and Ninewells Hospital, something the Blether Bus did not. However, at least the Blether Bus gave some sort of service for older residents who would struggle to walk (often uphill) to main bus services on streets like Perth Road and Glamis Road.
With the onset of the COVID health emergency, the Blether Bus was suspended as it uses a minibus where social distancing is a challenge. As restrictions ease, I have been anxious to ensure that a service for older folk in the area is restored.
Back in May, the council’s Team Leader, Parking & Sustainable Transport told me that he hoped the Blether Bus would be restored during the school summer holidays but he has since advised :
‘We are conscious of the potential for community transmission on the minibus services, particularly with the vehicles being shared between school children at Kingspark and older adults. We will further review our options in the weeks ahead, giving regard to any public health advice available.
My e-mail in late May 2021 suggested a return date during the school holidays but this was before the spike in Covid cases in the Dundee area which caused us to rethink our plans. We also had to consider driver availability and the potential of having to withdraw minibus services at short notice if the drivers were ill or required to self-isolate.’
I have made clear to council officers that it is vital that a bus service is restored as soon as possible and also raised the issue at the recent West End local community planning partnership meeting. It is not acceptable that older residents who cannot get to the main bus services on streets like Perth Road are left without their Blether Bus service.
I will keep residents updated and can assure the Blether Bus passengers that I will be continuing to pursue this to get the service back ASAP.