Campaigners have hit the streets to protest against a controversial decision to axe two “vital” bus routes.

Scores of residents joined councillors outside Tweedie Hall, in Linwood, to show their anger after McGill’s announced the number eight and 19 services would cease to operate on March 26.

The number eight service links Linwood with Johnstone, while the number 19 runs between Paisley and Johnstone, stopping in Bridge of Weir and Houston.

It means people living in the villages will not be able to get to Paisley by bus, while those living in Linwood wanting to get to Johnstone will have to change services in Paisley.

McGill’s has said it is trying to find alternatives to scrapping the routes but has warned that, in the current economic climate, the firm faces a tough choice to either increase fares or cut services.

The protest was organised by Labour councillors Alison Dowling and Jim Sheridan after they were inundated with complaints from residents.

Cllr Dowling said: “Losing these buses will remove the only public transport link from Houston and Crosslee to Paisley, the link for people who work in Paisley and for those attending the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“The service also provides a link for workers at the Inchinnan Business Park.

“The public transport link to Johnstone will become severely limited, including the vital link to Johnstone train station.”

Cllr Sheridan added: “The irony is that, in Houston, Texas, you can fly shuttles to the moon but, in Houston, Renfrewshire, you can’t get a bus to Paisley.”

Passengers who use the number eight have been advised to board the number seven instead and change to the 38 service at Fulbar Road, in Paisley.

McGill’s has said it is working with MSPs and councillors to try to save the routes after managing director Ralph Roberts met with Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur and Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Gavin Newlands.

Mr Roberts said: “The bus operating environment in west central Scotland is in a serious situation due to patronage decline.

“In the current climate, we have a choice to constantly increase fares or cut back services that require high internal subsidy from other busier services.”

A spokesperson for Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which is responsible for planning and co-ordinating regional transport, said: “Tenders for these bus services are being evaluated.”