Campaigners called on First Bus to organize an “eleventh hour” U-turn to restore an endangered bus service that is slated to shut down earlier this year.
The X53 service, which connects Stirling and Kinross, has come under threat from bus operators due to problems recruiting enough drivers to operate the route.
The fate of the service was discussed during a debate on rural bus services in the Scottish Parliament led by Green MP Mark Ruskell – and a petition to save the X53 has gathered more than 560 signatures.
However, despite the pressure of the past few weeks, First Bus bosses confirmed earlier this week that the X53 is still in cancellation on January 10.
The bus company also said Perth and Kinross Council may be able to fund a partial replacement of the route between Tillicoultry and Kinross.
Mr Ruskell’s green colleague Dunblane and Allan’s bridge adviser Alasdair Tollemache told the Observer: “I am making a call to First Bus, even at the eleventh hour, not to cut the X53 service. .
“We are barely approaching 2022 and yet we are going in the opposite direction of what is needed, more public transport and fewer cars.
“Communities depend on this vital link. The Scottish government should step in and find a way to preserve this service. “
Following the latest First Bus update Mr Ruskell said: ‘Like other activists from Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Kinross, I am disappointed to hear that First Bus is moving forward with the cancellation of X53 in January 2022.
“The impact of the loss of the X53 is severe. We are talking about vulnerable people who are even more isolated from essential services, young people losing their independence, and people forced to use private cars at exactly a time when we need to cut kilometers by car.
“The intervention of Perth Council and Kinross to provide an alternate route between Tillicoultry and Kinross is a slight glimmer of hope. But it is clear that we are only covering up the loopholes in a broken system. “