Big changes on Falkirk’s buses as routes are cut

Passengers will have fewer services to use in the New Year
Passengers will have fewer services to use in the New Year

Bus bosses will cut services in the new year because they are not making money.

Passengers travelling to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert will be among those hit by the changes announced by local operators First Bluebird.

The shakeup which will come into effect on January 12 will hit 14 routes.

Key details confirmed by the company will see:

n The 37 service between Callendar Park and Greenhill withdrawn;

n Bo’ness service 19 cancelled;

n Service 6/7 operating to a revised route between Stenhousemuir and Forth Valley Hospital;

n Service 60 operating hourly between Falkirk and Stirling but maintaining links between Clackmannanshire and Forth Valley Royal;

n Service 24 curtailed and Service 27 replaced;

n Service 14 withdrawn;

n Services E20/F40, currently supported by Falkirk Council, withdrawn.

The company claims that in the majority of cases passengers will still be able to travel on the bus to get to where they want to go - but may have to change buses to get there. Other alterations will see links maintained, but fewer buses on the route, meaning longer gaps between journeys.

Paul McGowan, managing director of First Bluebird based in Larbert Road, stressed the decision to cancel services and alter timetables had not been taken lightly. And he insisted First remain “absolutely committed” to longer term investment in services in the Falkirk area.

He said: “I appreciate some of our passengers will be disappointed. However the services that we are changing have been operating at a loss, in some cases a considerable loss, for many years.

“Across our network we employ around 1000 staff including almost 300 at our Larbert depot and head office and recently announced around a £4 million investment in new vehicles in Falkirk and Livingston.

“In order to continue as a viable commercial bus operator, protect jobs, invest in new buses, improve our business and support local communities, I’m afraid we had little option but to take action on services that are unsustainable. We can no longer continue to heavily subsidise long-term loss-making services to the detriment of investment elsewhere.”