Shake-up of bus services in Bo’ness and Linlithgow en route

Falkirk Councillor Craig R Martin wants councils to run bus services, which he says will ensure people from all communities are not excluded and provide cheaper bus fares.

The councillor launched a campaign on change.org for lower fares and is seeking the re-regulation of all services.

First Midland Bluebird managing director Paul McGowan in front of one of the new Royal Route buses which runs through Linlithgow. Picture: Michael Gillen

First Midland Bluebird managing director Paul McGowan in front of one of the new Royal Route buses which runs through Linlithgow. Picture: Michael Gillen

In response to Paul McGowan’s answers, Dr Martin said: “I welcome First Bus’s move to introduce different zonal pricing and I deeply hope it will lead to the people of Falkirk paying less. However, we can see from Paul McGowan’s comments that there will be no radical change in the price of bus travel.

“I don’t really blame First Bus for the expensive cost of bus travel, in theory we should have competition in the bus market which should drive down the cost of travel.

“My sister who lives in Airth pays £22 for her family (two adults and three kids) to get to Falkirk and back. That is grossly unfair and needs to change and my campaign to get cheaper bus prices in Falkirk, and the re-regulation of buses, will continue.

“I do fear for the future of bus travel in Falkirk, you can see from Paul’s comments that for First Bus it’s not commercial to run some services, especially those to rural areas.

“Therefore it falls to councils to pay a bus company to run to these areas, with ever decreasing council budgets it will get harder and harder for the councils to keep doing this. Also if bus prices keep increasing, I believe less people will use the buses and therefore fewer services will be commercially viable.

“It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken and is why the SNP Scottish Government need to take action. For those who worry having councils run bus services, Lothian Buses, which has Edinburgh council as their only shareholder, just paid £5.5 million in dividend payments to the council.”