A COUNCILLOR’S hopes of having a Loch Lomondside bus service extended to Arrochar have been dashed by “legislation”, community chiefs have heard.

Lomond North councillor Iain S Paterson queried the possibility of Strathclyde Passenger Transport (SPT) extending the 305 service, which runs from Alexandria and Balloch to Luss.

But Allan Comrie, senior transport planner with SPT, said that commercial services operated by another company prevented that from happening.

As well as those commercial services, which are operated under the Scottish Citylink banner between Glasgow and either Campbeltown or Oban, a bus service also operates from Helensburgh to Arrochar three times a day, continuing from the village to either Succoth or Carrick Castle.

The discussion took place at a virtual meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond community planning group.

Councillor Paterson said: “A couple of years ago I wrote to SPT about extending the bus service to Luss, and why it could not be extended to Arrochar and Tarbet.

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“I don’t have the email in front of me, but why is it that the service from Balloch, terminating at Luss, cannot be extended?”

Mr Comrie replied: “I take your point, which is very well made, but we are hamstrung by legislation.

“There are commercial services and for us, as a public body, it would not be in our best interests to run separate bus services.

“It might be felt that the bulk of journeys between those two areas are made by commercial services.

“We only have £13 million a year to spend on 12 councils in the west of Scotland.

“We act as a sticking plaster for the bus network where there is a gap. We have not got the funding or the rights if there is a commercial service, and these are excellent services.”

Councillor Paterson then said: “The commercial services are excellent, but if we are able to extend a bus service nine miles down the road, I think that would be great for the communities. The talk of rural communities is about how poorly serviced they are.”

Mr Comrie answered: “We are mindful of that, but our resources cannot meet the demand, and where there are alternatives, perhaps they are not ideal, but they are viable, and they are used.

“In an ideal world, we would have the ability to do this, but we don’t live in an ideal world – financially or in terms of legislation.”

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