Major travel upsets ahead in Falkirk

There will be trouble ahead for public transport
There will be trouble ahead for public transport
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Bus passengers face more delays and a fares hike in the months ahead.

Planned roadworks across the district will hit services from next week and have forced public transport giants First Bus to review its timetables.

It has already apologised to customers using its busiest routes, including the Circular, for the disruption.

Road closures and diversions will be in place from today (Thursday) on Service 12 and are expected to last a week. From March 5 rail bridge works on the Bellsdyke Road in Larbert will mean Services 11, 197, 191, E43, 67/76 and 193 will be diverted causing delays.

Resurfacing work at Ochiltree Terrace in Camelon from next week will also mean changes to Service 4 with the bus turning down Carmuirs Avenue to Wilson Road and along Glasgow Road before terminating at the Falkirk Wheel.

And from April 2, planned operating changes will impact on the running times of nearly 30 more routes.

Fares increases will be confirmed by the Office of Fair Trading, which sets the rates for the industry, on April 6.

A spokesperson for First Scotland East said: “Service alterations were made in the last couple of weeks due to the issues being experienced as a result of the roadworks within the Falkirk area and, as we could not continue to invest resources the difficult decision was made to revise timetables for some of our services.”

The company, which employs 400 people and provides 145,000 passenger journeys a week, is facing a financial ‘hit’ following the Scottish Government’s decision to reduce the Bus Service Operators Grant from £60.2 million to £50 million from April 1. It will also lose out financially because the method of payment is being changed which will reduce the share of the fund paid to urban operators.

Managing director Paul Thomas said: “We remain committed to the area, but all business has to be sustainable and the change to the grant system has led to a complete review of how we supply the Falkirk district network.

‘‘Fares are reviewed each year but in real terms this is our first increase in 18 months.”