First Bus reduces services it operates for Falkirk Council

Following a Falkirk Council review First Bus has announced reductions and changes to the services it operates on behalf of the local authority.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 4:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th August 2022, 8:11 am

Falkirk Council spends nearly £1 million a year on bus services, through contracts that go out to tender.

Back in February, councillors agreed to shave £100,000 off the funding for bus services which led to fears services will decline even further.

The First Bus changes – which include a number of buses serving Falkirk area schools – will come into effect from Monday, August 15.

First Bus has announced a number of changes to the services it operates on behalf of Falkirk Council

Number 1 service – There will be a revised route and timetable, with minor changes to morning and evening trips, while the section of route between Maddison and Linlithgow will pass to another operator and the route section between Linlithgow and Bridgend will no longer operate.

Number 2 service – There will be a revised Monday to Saturday timetable for morning and evening journeys, while Sunday tendered journeys to/from Limerigg will not

operate and selected morning and evening journeys to/from Bo'ness will see minor adjustments.

Number 29 service – There will be revised Monday to Saturday timetables, while tendered Sunday journeys will not operate.

Number F14 service – There will be no changes to Monday to Saturday journeys, but tendered Sunday journeys will not operate.

Number 6/6A/7 services – There will be revised Monday to Saturday timetables, while tendered journeys on service 6A between Falkirk and Camelon Ochiltree, will not operate and there will be no changes to Sunday 6A journeys between Falkirk and Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Number 8 service – There will be revised timetables on Saturday morning journeys.

Number F45 service – This service will be run by a new operator.

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The following services will now be run on behalf of Falkirk Council – 612 Bonnybridge to Denny High School, 677 Larbert Cross to St Mungos High School and 688 Larbert (The Inches) to St Mungos High School.

The following school services will now be run by a new operator – 654 St Modans High School to Denny, 611 Bonnybridge to Denny High School, 615 Banknock to St Patrick's Primary School, 618 Longcroft to Denny High School, 619 Banknock to Denny High School, 194 Bainsford to Falkirk High School, 195 Bainsford to Falkirk High School, 601 Larbert to St Bernadette's Primary School, 651 Bonnybridge to St Modans High School, 652 Denny to St Modans High School, 653 Banknock to St Modans High School, 660 Limerigg to Slamannan Primary School and 679 Lionthorn to St Mungos High School.

First Bus has been plagued by driver shortages and plummeting passenger numbers since the start of COVID-19 pandemic and has had to weather the storm of complaints from passengers about erratic, unreliable services in recent months.

The company said industry-wide driver shortages and a decline in passenger numbers, compared to pre-pandemic levels, is affecting all bus operators and it was taking “significant steps across a number of different areas to try and attract new drivers to the industry, while also further improving conditions for current drivers to retain them within the business”.

The timetable changes are all on Falkirk Council’s website