A PENSIONER from Skelmorlie says the new village dial-a-bus service is not fit for purpose after being unable to book transport.

Joan Whyte says she and other people living in the village are now in danger of being cut off.

She believes she would struggle to get to her ill 90-year-old mother in law if she had to hurry there for an medical emergency.

The 72-year-old tsays all flexibility has been lost as a result of the the new service, which launched this month.

It is recommended that users book 24 hours in advance, and longer if it is for a Monday as the office is closed on weekends.

The My Bus service replaced the McGill's Connect and Go route which was a similar dial-up operation but arrived within ten minutes of calling.

Joan says it the new set-up is also proving difficult for people who have to book a doctor's appointment in the morning and need to journey to Wemyss Bay Surgery.

She said: "There is no freedom of movement any more since My Bus took over.

"I phoned up to see if it was possible for me to get a bus on the day I called but they didn't know if they could get a bus for me and said it would depend on availability.

"In the event that something happens to my mother in law, I can just about get to the bottom of the hill, and get an onwards bus to Greenock, but when I get back to Skelmorlie, I would left at the bottom of the hill?

"That can't be right when we have been used to a daily service in the area for many years.

"I have personally suffered from lung cancer and other ailments and I can't very comfortably walk down the hill, and there is absolutely no way that I can walk up it.

"It is an elevation of 1000 feet from sea level to Upper Skelmorlie."

Joan, who lives in Innes Park Road, says that while there is a local taxi service she can't afford to get one every time.

She said: "I got on to Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and have asked them to do something about it but the problem is it is a signed and sealed contract.

"There is a huge number of people in Skelmorlie, particularly elderly, who are affected by this, and younger mums with prams."

Joan has been supported by local Labour councillor Alex Gallagher who is going to talk with an SPT representative seeking improvements.

He said: "This is the first complaint I have heard about the service but it is pretty serious.

"I will take up Joan's concerns with My Bus company and have every sympathy with her, and will certainly be taking this up with SPT."

Another villager David Lowe, 71, who is on the blind and partially sighted register, said: "This type of service is not suitable or geared-up to meet the needs of the wider community as the excellent McGill’s Connect & Go service was.

"Last Tuesday I phoned at 9am to try and book for 2.10pm at Wemyss Bay Station to my house in upper Skelmorlie and was told there was 'nothing available at that time'

"We were promised by SPT that the service would remain a bookable, demand responsive service."

SPT were contacted but were unavailable for comment.

Photos: Alister Firth