Forth Valley Royal Hospital employee blasts First Bus decision to split service

A Forth Valley Royal Hospital worker has hit out at a decision to split a key bus service.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 4:45 pm

The source claims First Bus is complicating journeys for passengers in the east of Falkirk district by altering the route of the X38 between Stirling and Edinburgh, which serves FVRH.

Dividing the service risks cutting off access to the hospital for those in areas like Polmont, according to the employee, who has written to the firm to demand an explanation.

The worker said: “Once again, we are being shown complete disregard by First Bus who are failing to take into consideration the needs of people without their own transport, especially those who rely on the X38 to get to and from Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

The X38 bus service connects eastern parts of Falkirk district to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. Picture: Michael Gillen.

“Now those in Polmont and Laurieston will be faced with having to change buses in Falkirk. To leave the entire east end of the district with no buses to the hospital through a change which doesn't work anyway is unacceptable.”

The company says the decision stems from capacity issues and a need to keep passengers and staff safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Graeme Macfarlan, First Midland commercial director, said: “The capacity issues look to be getting worse not better, with a lot of bus full alerts daily due to the Scottish Government guidance that restricts the on-bus capacity to 50 per cent.

“This change has been in effect from October 12 and we have not had a lot of negative feedback on the switch, but we thank passengers for their patience and understanding during these trying times for us all.

“The service is now split at Falkirk Upper Newmarket Street on early/daytime and peak journeys. Services operating from Edinburgh will continue as an X38 and will use the current route to Falkirk Upper Newmarket Street and then extend to Falkirk Community Hospital where it terminates/commences the next trip.

“Services from Stirling will operate as a 38 and will use the current route to Falkirk Upper Newmarket Street where it terminates/commences the next journey.

“We understand this will have an impact on some of our customers who undertake cross-town trips, however, given the current Covid situation, this is an opportunity to enhance social distancing on the busier corridor, which cannot be used on the full route due to the low bridge at Linlithgow.”

Thank you for reading this article on our free-to-read website. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a subscription to our print newspaper to help fund our trusted, fact-checked journalism.