A BUS route threatened with being axed has been restored this week but with a message from its operator: use it or lose it.

Earlier in July, First Glasgow announced it would pull the plug on the 208 service between Silverton and Brucehill.

The community rallied a petition to reverse the cut, pointing to the many residents who depended on the vital route.

On Friday, the bus giant U-turned - but warned they were not seeing the passenger numbers match supposed public support to keep the service.

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Glasgow, said First Glasgow had been affected by the pandemic like many companies and they faced “difficult decisions” to protect the business.

He said: “This means it is crucial that we prioritise all resource to where it is most needed and alleviate the challenges caused by social distancing restrictions, also ensuring services have sufficient capacity where passenger volumes are increasing.

“The service 208 is a route that has been in decline for a number of years in terms of passenger numbers, despite a number of efforts to make the route attractive to service users.

“The removal of any service is always the absolute last resort in this scenario and something we do not take lightly.

“Despite the numbers involved in the local campaign against the removal of this service, we are simply not seeing this level of customer volume actually using the service.

“This must change if the service is to have a long-term and viable future as a commercial service.

“Following a further review, we have now managed to identify a more cost-effective method of delivering the service that will see us continue to operate the 208 in the short term.

“As a result, we have taken the decision to reinstate the service as of Monday, July 27 but would emphasise the need for increased passenger numbers if we’re to sustain this for the longer term.

“The hope now with the service is that we may now in time see a boost to passenger numbers using the service given the level of public and political support for the service.”

Councillor Iain McLaren welcomed the move.

He said: “I am delighted that First Bus has reversed their decision to withdraw the 208 bus service in Dumbarton, and that it started running again on Monday.

“The service is essential for many people, and this is an incredible victory for the people who campaigned long and hard to save it.

“I’m especially grateful to the organisers of the ‘Reinstate the 208’ Facebook group, who have worked tirelessly to gather support from the communities that the bus serves, and walked countless miles gathering signatures for their petition.”

“It is excellent news.”