A "lifeline" bus service that runs between Johnstone and Lochwinnoch is set to be taken over by a new transport operator.

Concerns were raised by local politicians and commuters this week following an announcement that the 3 and 4 routes operated by Key Coaches were to be withdrawn with immediate effect.

It has been confirmed today that Shuttle Buses is now planning to run a replacement service for the 4 service, starting from Monday, November 13.

An SPT spokesperson said: "SPT is disappointed to note that two Key Coach services, 3 and 4, have been withdrawn. These are commercial services which the operator has decided to withdraw with immediate effect.

"At this point we understand there is no commercial interest from other operators in replacing service 3, albeit the vast majority of journeys on this route can still be completed via interchange.

"We are aware that Shuttle Buses has now submitted a registration for a replacement service to run part of service 4 from Lochwinnoch to Johnstone which it intends to start on Monday, subject to approval from the traffic commissioner."

The Gazette:

Councillor Andy Doig, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, has welcomed today's announcement.

He told The Gazette: "I would like to thank Shuttle Coaches for stepping in to run the former Key Coaches bus service which ended so abruptly, thereby causing so much worry for myself and my constituents.

"I would also like to thank the SPT team who have worked so hard, right up to chief executive level, to ensure that both Lochwinnoch and Howwood residents did not lose this lifeline service which so many depend on.

"I would also like to thank my council colleague Jim Paterson, Renfrewshire Council's representative on the SPT, who has worked with me very closely all week to stress to the SPT the importance of finding a replacement bus service."

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Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur added: "As soon as I heard that Key Coaches were pulling the vital number 4 service from the villages, I contacted SPT.

"It was great to hear today that a new provider will take on the service from Monday. I am still awaiting full details, but this is a good starting point and providing a lifeline service to Lochwinnoch and Howwood."

Ross Granger, managing director of Shuttle Buses, said: “When we heard that Key Coaches would be stopping this service, we realised that many people in Lochwinnoch would be left without any form of public transport.

"Thanks to co-operation from SPT and Key Coaches, we were able to put together a replacement service very quickly and we will be operating a near-normal timetable from Monday, November 13.

"We will be looking at potential enhancements to the route in the near future."

Full details of the new timetable can be found at www.shuttlebuses.co.uk/timetables.