THE first electric bike scheme in the Wee County has launched this week with more charging stations to come.

The Forth Bike project has created an e-bike charge and hire station in Tillicoultry at Elistoun Drive with greener ways of travel surging ahead.

More stations are planned for the Wee County in Alloa and Dollar while the scheme also has hire points in the wider Forth Valley region, including Falkirk, Bannockburn and Stenhousemuir.

The project was originally kick-started by the Forth Environment Link charity last June in a bid to become the UK's largest and only cross-regional scheme, covering Clacks, Stirling and Falkirk areas.

There are now nine stations in the area, including a docking point at Stirling Train Station as well as charging stations at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, The Kelpies, and more.

Clara Walker, executive director of Forth Environment Link, said: "The addition of four more stations will widen access to the scheme, meaning more local people can take advantage of easy, affordable low carbon travel.

"The e-bikes last for up to 60 miles on a single charge, making them a real alternative to the car."

An annual pass for Forth Bike, which uses the latest electric bikes by Canadian firm Bewegen Technologies Inc, costs £65 for unlimited journeys or £2 for a single journey.

With the pass it costs 18p a day.

Mario Carrier, CEO at Bewegen, added: "We are thrilled to see the new stations open, expanding the network and connecting the communities of Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

"Our bikes are designed to make short or longer trips to help users commute between all communities that are part of the scheme."

The £500,000 initiative is funded by Transport Scotland, NHS Forth Valley, SESTRAN as well as the three local authorities in Clackmannanshire Stirling and Falkirk.

When the station launched at the hospital last year, local Councillor Craig Holden said: "The council is proud to have played a part in this innovative scheme to give residents and visitors more choice in how they travel around our area and beyond.

"It will also add to Clackmannanshire's growing reputation as a destination for healthy, outdoors activities."