A “VITAL LIFELINE” of a bus service for Clackmannanshire families will remain in place after going out to tender and review.

The faith of the H1 and H2 routes were hanging in the balance since the end of September with Wee County councillors keen to maintain the status quo, as reported then.

At the same time, the C1 and C2 buses also went out to tender and the Advertiser understands the future of those services will be decided during the forthcoming budget setting process.

Back in September, a paper presented to elected members included an option to potentially combine routes, creating three out of the existing four.

NHS Forth Valley and Clackmannanshire Council confirmed the move on the hospital buses in a joint statement, saying: “Following a recent review and tender process carried out jointly by Clackmannanshire Council and NHS Forth Valley, the H1/H2 bus service will continue to be provided with no planned changes to the existing schedule.”

It came as welcome news in Dollar, where the H2 is the only regular service available for passengers.

Dollar Community Development Trust, which has been working with partners to enhance service provision for the area, said the development comes “as a great relief” to residents, and previously told the Advertiser it was a “vital lifeline” for those who use it.

Fiona McGregor said: “That is excellent news and will come as a great relief to Dollar residents who have been very concerned about the possibility of further reductions in the service.

“The Dollar Community Development Trust will continue working with the Dollar community to seek other ways to improve our access to vital services, including taking an active part in the Clackmannanshire Community Transport Association.”

Contracts on the four buses were due to expire in March this year.

During a debate in the chamber at Kilncraigs back in September last year, all political parties were adamant services must continue.

They were hoping to push NHS Forth Valley to stick to a commitment to provide sufficient services to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert – part of an agreement that was reached when the new establishment was built.

Councillor Les Sharp, leader of the SNP administration, said: “It is great news from NHS Forth Valley that they have decided to continue to support the vital service provided by the H1 and H2 buses throughout Clackmannanshire.

“We, as a partner organisation, welcome the support of the NHS board to the residents of Clackmannanshire in accessing the excellent services provided at NHS Forth Valley Royal Hospital."