CALLS are being made for First Bus to engage with communities ahead of next month's "emergency" timetable changes.

As reported last week, a number of changes to the 51/52 service, in place from August 15, have been announced by the bus company, which has recently been criticised over service provision, last week.

The 51 service will be affected by the changes with a service between Stirling and Alloa to operate every 30 minutes and with connecting services to Clackmannan to be provided by a separate 51 shuttle among the proposals.

Evening and Sunday services will remain unchanged and so will departures from Stirling with other key changes detailed last week.

MSP Keith Brown has been seeking residents' views on the changes while MSP Mark Ruskell has this week called on the company to consult those affected directly.

He said: “It’s simply not good enough that First Bus are once again changing critical local bus services without any attempt to consult the affected local community in Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

“We’ve seen First Bus do this before when they cancelled the X53 route between Kinross and Stirling – and it was only thanks to the hard work of community campaigners that we were able to sort an alternative operator for part of the route.

“Local communities need to be put back in the driving seat when it comes to making decisions about public transport in their area.

“I will be urgently writing to First Bus to encourage the company to listen to local residents before changing these routes, and also to make a commitment to consult with communities prior to any future timetable changes.”

The company explained to the Advertiser that whenever changes are made to a route, there is consultation with relevant local authorities.

A spokesperson for First Scotland East said: “These particular changes to the 51 and 52 service are an emergency timetable change we are making to ensure the services we are running offer better reliability and stability across the network.

“It is necessary for us to make these changes as we continue to deal with a national bus driver shortage, the effects of which we are not immune to.

“Our driver recruitment campaign is continuing at pace as we try to overcome the issue as quickly as possible.”

Visit to see the forthcoming changes.