MUCKHART Community Council has said the removal of the X53 "completely deprives" the area of a bus service.

Last week the Advertiser reported how First Bus's X53 service, which serves areas of the Hillfoots including Dollar, Muckhart and Tillicoultry, could be cancelled at the end of a current review period.

Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director for First Bus in Scotland, said: "The X53 is part of a number of further changes we are having to implement in order to address our ongoing driver shortage issue.

"We have entered a 70-day process to temporarily suspend the service until further notice, in order to help address the driver shortage and focus resource where there is current demand and on those services that we are seeing a higher rate of post-Covid-19 passenger recovery on."

However, Jon Jordan, chair of Muckhart Community Council, hopes to see officials reinstate the service.

He told the Advertiser: "It makes us the largest settlement in Clackmannanshire without a bus service. It deprives us completely of a bus service.

"We're talking to the council and we also want to talk to MSPs to see how this can be resolved.

"The ideal solution would be to reinstate this service."

Damian Sherwood Johnson, chair of the Tillicoultry, Coalsnaughton and Devonside Community Council, described the public transport in the Wee County as "woefully inadequate".

Asked if that's an opinion he would agree with, Jon said: "I certainly would.

"If it's woefully inadequate in Tillicoultry, it's even worse in Muckhart. People in the village rely on it [the bus service].

"There's high car ownership in Muckhart, but there are people dependant on it."

Green MSP Mark Ruskell launched a campaign to save the service last week, with hundreds backing the move.

Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, has written a letter to First Bus seeking more clarification on the issue.

Keith said: "I've been in touch with members of the local community on this matter as I share in their disappointment the decision to withdraw the X53 bus service.

"I know that Muckhart Community Council is in touch with council officials and elected representatives on this matter to assess any possible solutions.

"In addition, I've written back to First Bus to ask what support they intend to offer the community at this time, and I look forward to their response."