A BUS firm is being urged to perform a U-turn on controversial plans to reduce some services in Renfrewshire, as councillors insist they are needed by the elderly.

Elected members Jim Sharkey and John Hood have asked Renfrewshire Council to oppose proposals by McGill’s to cut back the number 20 route, which runs between the Spateston area of Johnstone and the Gallowhill area of Paisley.

The Labour pair have also asked colleagues to urge the firm not to make changes to the number 38 service, which connects Kilbarchan with Glasgow, stopping in Johnstone and Paisley on the way.

McGill’s plans to withdraw the number 38 from Kilbarchan between 9am and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays and instead only operate it between Johnstone town centre and Glasgow, via Paisley.

A new number 32 service is set to be introduced for Kilbarchan residents, offering journeys every 20 minutes between the village and Johnstone town centre, where they can continue on to Glasgow by connecting with another bus.

As for the number 20, the firm plans to abandon using residential streets around the Whitehaugh area of Paisley and instead make more use of Arkleston Road. This route would also terminate at Johnstone town centre, rather than Spateston.

McGill’s insist the changes are necessary due to severe congestion.

But Councillor Sharkey and Councillor Hood have tabled two motions for discussion at today’s full council meeting in the hope the local authority can put pressure on the company to think again.

The motions state: “Council opposes the change in service proposed by McGill’s to the number 20 bus route. The Whitehaugh portion of the route serves many elderly residents who need a better service, not a reduced one, and Arkleston Road was never intended to sustain such heavy traffic.

“The termination of the route at Johnstone town centre and the subsequent need to change buses for the people of Johnstone Castle increases journey times and will discourage bus travel.

“Council calls on McGill’s to withdraw their threat to reduce the number 38, which is needed by the young, the elderly and everyone who is serious about reducing carbon effect on the planet.

“The current Transport Bill includes the option for local authorities to regulate bus services, which is the existing policy of Renfrewshire Council, and calls on the administration to provide a comprehensive report to the next full council on the progression of this policy, including any comment made by McGill’s.”

Ralph Roberts, chief executive at McGill’s, said the company has engaged with councillors about issues on the routes.

He added: “The need for changes to our services stems from the severe congestion we are experiencing on these routes. We have engaged with Renfrewshire councillors about this to explain the issues that have been getting steadily worse.

“Whilst there are changes to how we operate, we are adamant we are not cutting services.

“We are working with Renfrewshire Council to secure some of the Scottish Government’s £500million bus priority funding.

“We are happy to work with politicians to improve services and we have already reflected feedback received from local councillors in these service changes. However, it is clear we need to make changes now due to the congestion problems, which are getting worse year after year.”