Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

Reason 6: Better Buses

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Joe has ran numerous campaigns against local bus cuts and is committed to delivering better bus services.

Weeks after Joe was elected as a Councillor for Kilwinning in 2012, Stagecoach announced that they were cutting their number 27 service from every half hour to every hour. The 27 service is the only bus that serves the Whitehirst Park area and is also used by residents of the Corsehill and Irvine.

Joe immediately launched a petition against Stagecoach's decision and gathered hundreds of signatures.

Despite the support the petition gathered, and Joe exposing that changes to the Bus Operators Grant, which Stagecoach had used to justify their decision to cut the 27 service, had actually 'derived a financial benefit' for Stagecoach running this service, the cut went ahead.

The experience demonstrated to Joe the need for bus regulation. In the 1980's, Margaret Thatcher scrapped bus regulation everywhere in the UK apart from in London, resulting in local bus services being run in the interests of profit making bus companies rather than to meet the needs of local communities.

Joe has campaigned for bus regulation ever since and when Labour MSP Iain Gray proposed a private members bill on bus regulation, Joe invited Iain along to public meetings in Kilwinning and Bourtreehill.

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Then, in February 2014, it was announced that the local 20 bus service in Kilwinning, which serves the Blacklands and Woodwynd areas, was due to be cut from every half hour to every hour > http://www.ardrossanherald.com/news/13724542.Worries_over_cuts_to_town_bus_services/

Joe immediately set up another campaign and was successful!

The service was subsidised by SPT and when Shuttle Buses beat Stagecoach to the new contract, Joe worked with them to ensure the continuation of a half hourly service.

Not only that - the new service would include the new 38 service which would provide a direct bus service from the Blacklands and Woodwynd into Irvine > http://www.ardrossanherald.com/news/13724984.Kilwinning_bus_service_to_stay_half_hourly/

And when the new bus service was launched and didn't include the bus stop outside Hawthorn Place, a sheltered housing complex for the elderly, Joe got involved again to get the bus stop reinstated onto the route > http://www.joecullinane.co.uk/hawthorn_place_residents_to_get_bus_stop_back

In March 2015 it was the turn of the people of Drybridge to face their local bus being axed.

Joe was invited along to join local politicians at a public meeting given his experience of fighting bus cuts. Following the meeting Joe, and others, lobbied SPT and was successful in securing SPT to subsidise a bus service so that Drybridge retained one > http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/vital-bus-service-set-saved-5452225#QteSjSJvfoL0FRps.97

Most recently Joe became involved in the 13/113 service between Irvine and Stewarton. The service is due to be withdrawn from July 2016 and would leave Cunninghamhead, which is in the Cunninghame South constituency, without a bus service. Joe is lobbying SPT again to retain a bus service - http://www.irvinetimes.com/news/14376176.Irvine_bus_route_facing_the_axe/

As the MSP for Cunninghame South, Joe will campaign for better buses. He will go into the Scottish Parliament and work to deliver the bus regulation that will hand back some democratic control over bus services which will enable local politicians to drastically change how bus services are run - so they put community need before bus company profits.

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