It’s not fare!

First Midland Bluebird managing director Paul McGowan announced the extension of the fares this week. Picture: Michael Gillen
First Midland Bluebird managing director Paul McGowan announced the extension of the fares this week. Picture: Michael Gillen

Bus users in Bo’ness have been excluded from two schemes that offer cheaper fares.

First announced this week it was extending its Falkirk First Day and Falkirk First Week tickets – costing £4.50 and £15 respectively – which it brought in earlier this year for a trial ending on August 31.

The deals will now run until the end of the year, but customers in Bo’ness will once again not be included in the geographical area of the eligible routes.

The town was left out of the pilot in March and has been again. To make matters worse for bus users here, First has also introduced a cheaper £4 day pass in West Lothian which also isn’t available in Bo’ness.

Councillor Craig R Martin, who is campaigning for Falkirk Council to have more control over bus services, said: “It is now time that Bo’ness is included; it wasn’t fair they were excluded from the initial pilot, but now it is being extended it would be scandalous if the town was continued to be left out. What makes matters worse is the introduction of the West Lothian day pass, a pass that Bo’ness people can’t use either. It’s time First did right by Bo’ness.

“It was my understanding that if the daily/weekly pilot was successful then First would roll it out to their wider network, so I am annoyed to see that First have introduced a £4 daily pass for the West Lothian area.

Bo’ness councillor Ann Ritchie is also frustrated. She said: “Once again the people of Bo’ness have been treated with contempt by First.

“We are part of Falkirk District and deserve to be given the same considerations as other communities. Instead we are the first victims of cuts in service and no thought regarding special offers.

“That is not good enough and its time the Labour/Tory Administration started promoting Bo’ness and the interests of our residents.”

First said: “First Midland Bluebird is committed to working with local authorities, elected representatives and community groups to develop services for customers, the vast majority of which operate without council support.

“Our reduced fares package for many of our customers in the Falkirk area is an example of how we are seeking to encourage more people on to public transport at reduced cost. We have stated that we would like to make these fares permanent and indeed widen their availability.”