CHANGES to bus services in and around the Wee County, including an extra link between the Hillfoots and Stirling University, are coming into force mid-February.

First Scotland East service 55 will be introduced on Monday, February 18, taking passengers from Tullibody to Alloa and through the Hillfoots – leaving Clackmannanshire past Menstrie and connecting to the university.

The new link will be a peak-only route, operating during the university semester.

The bus company says the changes come as it has taken on board comments and requests seeking further improvements to the wider network.

Forthcoming timetables for the 55 show the bus will depart from Manor Powis, stopping at Tullibody Cross and Alloa Shillinghill before continuing through Sauchie, Fishcross and Coalsnaughton.

Following the familiar route, it then hooks back towards the west at Tillicoultry, taking in Alva then Menstrie before heading out of the county toward the university.

The timetable for the 51 will also be revised, providing an extra evening journey from Stirling to Cowie.

Andrew Jarvis, managing director at First Scotland East, said: “We are pleased with the feedback and continued support we have received from our customers across the Forth Valley and the surrounding areas over the past few months with our new simplified network.

“We hope these revisions indicate our commitment to listening to feedback and proves we are always willing to take suggestions on board from the local community.

“Hopefully now the local community can get behind their local bus services as we strive to continue improvements to services in the area.”

MSP Keith Brown, SNP representative for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, welcomed the changes.

He said: “I welcome these service improvements, which have been made following dialogue with service users and will provide extra services to Stirling University from Alloa, Tullibody and the Hillfoots.

“In addition to a simplified timetable connecting Stirling and the Forth Valley Hospital, I hope these improvements are felt by service users across the area.”