Communities across Stirling and Clackmannanshire are once again under threat of losing a vital bus service. After introducing the X53 bus only 14 months ago, First Bus are threatening to cancel this service from 10th January 2022.
We have less than three months to save the X53. We are asking you to write to First Bus, asking them to keep the X53 route, engage with affected communities and keep Clacks connected.
The X53 bus connects Kinross and Stirling with the Hillfoots, including villages like Dollar, Muckhart and Tillicoultry. For many people living along the eastern leg of the route, the X53 is the only public transport option connecting them with Stirling and Kinross, with residents relying on this service for access to healthcare and education.
First Bus plan to cancel the X53 three weeks before free bus travel will be introduced for under 22s. The company has said that driver shortages, pressures from Brexit and staff absence due to COVID-19 means that they must reduce and cancel services across the region.
But if First Bus cut the X53, residents will not only lose a vital public transport link but many will be forced to use alternative bus routes with double the journey times. This will likely increase the number of cars on our roads and lead to even more air pollution.
A green recovery from COVID must include improved public transport at its heart. For the climate and the community, now is the time to build back better – not to cut these essential services.
We are calling on First Bus to reconsider their decision to cancel the X53, engage with affected communities, and help keep Clacks connected.