Harper Calls For Improvement To 500 Bus Service

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has called for urgent improvements to the lifeline 500 bus service which serves communities across the region from Stranraer to Dumfries.

In a letter to the chair of SWESTRANS – the body which oversees public transport across Dumfries and Galloway – Ms Harper has raised a number of concerns relayed to her from her constituents over what she has described as the “consistent downgrading” of the service. In particular, the South Scotland MSP has said that the service should be a coach and not a regular service bus, as the operator Stagecoach have previously promised to do, and she has called for the toilet provision to be improved for customer comfort.

Ms Harper, who has been a consistent voice in advocating for improvements to public transport across the region, has said that the current situation must improve for her constituents.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“Stagecoach have made consistent commitments between 2015 to the present day that the 500-bus service would be a coach and not a regular service bus. This is an important commitment for passenger comfort, particularly given that the journey from Dumfries to Stranraer takes, on average, three hours. However, over recent months – in particular I am told by constituents from December 2023 to now – the 500 service has been a regular Stagecoach service bus.
“In addition to the lack of a coach, constituents report that the lack of toilet provision on the bus is also an issue. As I’m sure everyone will appreciate, a three-hour journey can be a long time without access to a toilet which is accessible, particularly for older people and those with medical conditions. This is a situation I would like to see improved for my constituents.
“I have written to the Chair of SWESTRANS – the body which oversees public transport in our region – to seek action on these issues on the 500 route. If we want more people to use the bus, then the bus service has to be attractive.”