A SUMMIT on bus services in the Forth Valley region is set to go ahead next week.

MSP Mark Ruskell has called the online summit for Monday, November 28, to bring together bus operators Stagecoach and McGill's with campaign groups and residents to discuss the future of services.

It comes following ongoing concerns over the state of bus services in Clackmannanshire and the wider area.

Mr Ruskell said: “Every single person in Scotland deserves affordable, reliable, and accessible public transport services regardless of where they live.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen transformational reforms in the bus sector, such as extending free bus travel to all young people under 22 years old.

“We’ve also seen an unprecedented level of investment in the bus sector at a financially challenging time for the Scottish Government.

“But despite this, communities across Mid Scotland and Fife are still seeing chronic issues with local bus services, from last minute cancellations to complete service withdrawals.

“Bus companies are struggling with low passenger numbers and driver retention too.”

Earlier this year, operator First Scotland East came under fire over cancellations and withdrawals with Wee County councillors highlighting the issue in the Kilncraigs chamber.

Since then, the routes were sold to McGill's Buses, with buses currently running under the Midland Bluebird branding.

The takeover was completed by around the start of November with new owners vowing to empower management at the Larbert and Bannockburn depots to lead with a local footing.

At the time, James Easdale, chairman of the McGill's Group, said: "We believe in empowering local teams to deliver for their local communities rather than a centralised, top-down approach – we want passengers to have an affinity with their local buses and one step in that process is the introduction of iconic liveries for the fleet.”

MSP Ruskell's online summit will run from 6pm to 8pm on Monday, November 28, and is open to all residents.

The Scottish Greens representative added: “I hope to see folks from across the region and the bus companies join us for this important conversation on the future of bus services in Mid Scotland and Fife.

“The problems with Scotland’s bus network run deep, and it’s time to fix the problem at root.”

Visit shorturl.at/dhDNZ to register for the event.