BUS services in the Wee County have been temporarily saved from the chopping block, according to Clackmannanshire Council.

After a series of meetings between the council leader and transport chiefs, both Stagecoach and First have agreed to continue their respective services.

The First 60 bus, which connects Clackmannan with Alloa, Tullibody and Stirling, was scheduled to be withdrawn completely on August 15 this year, after the operators announced a review of their routes.

Stagecoach then unveiled their intention to review their number 8 service so that it would not operate between Stirling and Culross, meaning those in Kincardine would be affected.

However, despite both operators claiming the decision was due to financial reasons, the council says both will continue past the summer.

Keith Brown MSP had also expressed dismay at the proposals and vowed to engage with both firms.

However, he told the Advertiser that First bosses had agreed to maintain the number 60 service for only six months on a "use it or lose it" basis.

Since being notified of the planned cuts, Council Leader Bobby McGill held various meetings with Stagecoach and First and also with Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf, explaining how the proposed changes would impact on local people.

Cllr McGill said: “I am delighted that Stagecoach and First have reversed their decisions and listened to the people of Clackmannanshire.

"The removal of these services would have cut off whole communities to the public transport network.

"My message now to local people is to use these services – keeping passenger numbers up is the only way to protect these services and other local services from potential future cuts.” 

The Stagecoach service 8 will continue as an hourly service between Dunfermline and Alloa, while the First service 60 will operate every 30 minutes between Alloa and Clackmannan.

Mr Brown, who aims to hold a summit on bus service provisions in the county in the near future, welcomed the commitment from First.

He added: "I have had confirmation from First of their decision and I am pleased that they have listened to reason on this occasion. However, they have made it clear the retained service will be for six months only – on a use it or lose it basis, so there is no certainty for the longer term provision.

"The future of bus services across Clackmannanshire continues to be an important issue for many of my constituents and the bus summit that I have organised will bring many interested parties together to begin to look at the services currently on offer and how these can be optimised to meet the needs of local communities.

"It's no longer an option to continue to wait for life-line services to be cut in the future, action needs to be taken now to protect and improve local bus services."

Meanwhile, there are other planned changes in the frequency of a number of other commercial services.

The Stagecoach service 23 will be reduced, meaning services through Muckhart and Dollar will go from six to four per day.

The council is working with the Dollar Futures group on transport provision for these communities.