Cuts to Falkirk bus services criticised

Hospital bus services will be cut on August 18
Hospital bus services will be cut on August 18

Residents across the district are pleading with authorities to ensure communities are not cut off from work and services following cuts to bus services.

From August 18 NHS Forth Valley will no longer pay for the H3, H4, H4a and H5 bus services to Forth Valley Royal Hospital, with some routes to be taken over by extended services on First Bus routes.

The health board say some of the services were only attracting one passenger a day and two-thirds of the trips were not for visits to the hospital and were not a good use of NHS resources that could have also led to other commercial services being withdrawn.

The H services run from Maddiston to Fankerton taking in Dunipace, Denny, Larbert, Stenhousemuir, Carronshore, Skinflats, Grangemouth, Polmont, Brightons, Maddiston, and Kincardine.

From August 19, only the routes covering the Denny and Dunipace areas will be covered by an extension to the 6 and 7 First Bus services while the other routes will cease.

Helen McAlpine from Grangemouth said: “How do young mums get to the baby clinics and the nursery? I thought babies, the elderly and the disabled where top priority. Residents in their 70s and others who are disabled are not fit to get on all the connecting buses.

“We are not asking for buses to be put on for day trips, we are asking for a bus service to get to essential appointments and work.”

Lily McFadyen added: “Anyone I have spoken to is absolutely disgusted that this is being withdrawn. Yet again the Braes is going to suffer.”

Grangemouth Councillor David Balfour said he received numerous complaints from constituents, especially in Skinflats, and has written to bus companies asking for a review of services to cover the area. A possible change could be an addition on the First F15 service further into Grangemouth.

He said: “This would make a massive difference to people, but I’m still waiting on a response.”

A First Scotland East spokesperson said the company had a “comprehensive” network in the Falkirk area and from August 19 will offer extended services from Denny and Dunipace to the hospital.

The spokesperson added: “In addition, I’m pleased to confirm we will be offering a new day return ticket for those travelling from within the Falkirk Council area to Forth Valley Royal Hospital.”