SEVERAL Inverclyde routes could benefit from a £5m fleet of new McGill's buses - but only if there is urgent action to tackle parking and congestion.

Last week, the Greenock-based company announced that it has placed an order with Falkirk firm Alexander Dennis for 26 modern coaches with some of the vehicles earmarked for the Burns Square and upper Port Glasgow routes.

The remainder of the fleet will deployed across the rest of the McGill's network in Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

But the company's managing director, Ralph Roberts, says the investment locally - over £1m in total - would be a waste of money if Inverclyde Council does not address bottleneck conditions and parking problems throughout the district.

Mr Roberts said: "Services 517 - Burns Square - and 531, 532 and 533 - upper Port Glasgow - will benefit from this investment but it will be dependent upon local authority action on parking and congestion.

"In terms of parking, things are getting continuously worse in places like Cumberland Road, Kirn Drive, George Road and Reservoir Road. "We know that the council cannot simply magic away hundreds of cars from our streets but they need to be looking at solutions where options are available.

"On Kirn Drive, for example, there is ample room to make space for parking.

"Likewise in Cumberland Road.

"I don't imply a disagreement with the council, far from it. "However, if I'm going to put significant additional investment - over £1m in this case - in new, clean, reliable buses, there needs to be a landscape that is worth doing business in. "Otherwise, I will get a better return by placing them elsewhere."

Local authority chiefs have expressed sympathy with the situation and vowed to work with the company to come up with a plan of action.

A council spokesman said: "The McGill's fleet investment is one that should be welcomed here in Inverclyde and across the entire network. "Good quality, reliable and affordable public transport is important in reducing the reliance on cars, supporting active travel and promoting more environmentally sustainable travel. "When it comes to parking and congestion, Mr Roberts is absolutely right that we can't magic away hundreds of cars from the roads. "We are, though, always open to hearing constructive and achievable ideas and suggestions for improvements. "Our current budget consultation, for example, is directly asking for good ideas to improve services, save money or increase income. "Our petitions committee is also looking for ideas to make life better in Inverclyde. "If Mr Roberts or any of the staff or customers at McGill's have any ideas for making improvements to our communities, let us know."