Hospital bus services to be chopped

NHS supported bus services are to be cut in August
NHS supported bus services are to be cut in August

Bus routes to Forth Valley Royal Hospital are to be cut and replaced by other existing services following a review.

The H3, H4, H4a and H5 buses will end on August 18 as most trips on these NHS supported services were not hospital journeys and some were only attracting one passenger a day.

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

NHS Forth Valley say parts of the existing supported route are now served by commercial buses and that competition to these services is not a “good use of NHS resources and could potentially lead to commercial services being withdrawn”.

From August 19 journeys on the 6 and 7 First Bus services will be extended from Dunipace, Bonnybridge, Dennyloanhead and Denny. A number of existing commercial services (6, 7, 19, 38, 59, 60 and X38) will continue to provide direct links from Falkirk town centre, Camelon, Larbert, Grangemouth, Polmont and Bo’ness.

The number 1 service is to provide a ‘frequent’ route between Maddiston and Brightons and Falkirk town centre, while Falkirk Council supported buses are to link Skinflats (F15) and Fankerton (E21) with the town centres in Larbert and Falkirk. A £4.50 day return ticket is also to be introduced on First buses to travel to the hospital from anywhere in the district, which the NHS say will be cheaper for travellers using connecting buses.

Tom Steele, NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Strategic Property and Facilities, said: “The initial NHS supported bus services were intended to run for three years to encourage people to use public transport.

“It was always our intention at the end of this period to review usage levels and take into account other transport developments and changes during this time.

“Since the hospital opened, several commercial bus services have been introduced which provide direct links with the hospital and there are a number of other supported bus services which provide connections from several local towns and villages across Falkirk.

“These revised bus arrangements take account of the public transport changes and improvements made over the last three years. The new through ticketing scheme will also enable patients, staff and visitors from across the entire Falkirk council area to access the hospital with one ticket.”