A SUPPORT worker has criticised bus bosses for running smaller 'Skipper' vehicles on busy routes as the coronavirus lockdown eases.

Teresa Keaney travels on buses to the house calls for the people she cares for.

The 56-year-old fears that a lack of social distancing on board is putting her and her clients at risk of coronavirus.

She cited the McGill's 545 service between Port Glasgow and Inverclyde Royal, saying it is very busy, and wants the company to put a bigger bus on the route.

Teresa said: "I think McGill's are putting profit before health and safety.

"They know that due to the lockdown easing and more people returning to work, there are more people out and about and more and more people using public transport.

"They need to introduce bigger buses and more regular services."

Teresa says she and her key worker colleagues are supporting the most vulnerable people in Inverclyde and shouldn't have to worry about safety on public transport.

She said: "We are following government guidelines and doing everything we can to stay safe and to protect the people we are caring for.

"People are relying on us to get to their house and give them their medication.

"They need our support throughout lockdown we have given the best care we can give to these people."

Teresa's company had previously provided taxis throughout lockdown but this became sustainable and she and colleagues who don't drive are now relying on public transport.

She is calling for McGill's to only use bigger buses, so that passengers can spread themselves out.

Teresa said: "I went for a bus at Kilblain Street and I was surprised at the amount of people waiting in the queue.

"I asked the driver if he had been told how many people to allow on and he hadn't.

"I walked up to the back of the bus, and sat in the back seat there was a woman with a children and there were two seats between us.

"A man and lady came up to sit there and I said we were social distancing, and they were fine with it, but why should it be left to passengers?

"It could cause a confrontation.

"Only the front two seats have been taped off behind the driver but people can sit anywhere else."

Teresa raised her concerns directly with McGill's and asked if the company could adopt the same principal as First Bus, who are only using every fourth seat.

She said: "I was told that that would mean leaving passengers at bus stops."

Teresa says she has seen some bigger buses on the route but that the 'Skipper' ones are still running.

She has contacted MSP Stuart McMillan about the issue.

Mr McMillan told the Telegraph: "I have been made aware of concerns that some people have when using local buses for essential travel, specifically with regards to social distancing.

"In particular, carers who do not drive use the local bus service.

"I have contacted McGill's, raised the matter with them and have also asked to speak to management to raise the concerns directly.”

A spokeswoman for McGill's told the Telegraph: "Government guidelines have been clear – that two metre distancing may not be possible at busy times.

"This is why the government had an expectation that bus users would wear a face covering – this wasn’t happening in practice and has now been made mandatory.

"Additional buses have been put into service in various places of our network over the last eight weeks and there are more additional buses in place from Monday to alleviate any areas where capacity is an issue.

"There will be an approximate doubling of service from Monday 29 June.

"From Monday August 3, buses will be operating at 100 per cent of pre-Covid levels.

"Larger buses have replaced smaller buses where the number of people making essential journeys has risen – service 545 is one of those routes.

"There is an absolute limit to the number of buses that can be provided in the midst of this public health pandemic, however, our safe and clean buses are deep cleaned every day and key touch points are sanitised multiple times over the course of each day."