BUS services across Clacks came shuddering to a halt last week as the McGill’s number 51 service was cancelled two days in a row.

The bus travels between Alloa Shillinghill and Clackmannan Main Street but was not in operation during the mornings and early afternoon of January 18 and 19.

McGill’s Buses confirmed the cancellations were the result of national driver shortages which saw a number of routes across the country affected.

A spokesperson said: "We apologise for cancellations affecting a small percentage of our services presently. As with other sectors across the country, we are currently experiencing a driver shortage which is being exacerbated by a number of short notice problems.

"To keep customers informed with as much notice as possible, we have set up a journey cancellation page on our website and would ask passengers to check this notice, the alerts page, our app and on social media.

“More than 95 per cent of our services are operating as normal but those that do not may cause significant disruption and we apologise for that.

"We would also ask customers to bear in mind that the staff driving the buses that operate have not caused this issue and in many cases are working overtime to minimise the problem so please be kind to them."

McGill’s bought over First Scotland East in September 2022, giving them control over the routes across Clacks and the central belt.

Bus travel in Scotland has seen significant investment over the past few years, with the Scottish Green party successfully campaigning for under 22-year-olds to be given free travel.

Mark Ruskell, Green MSP for Clackmannanshire, raised concerns about the bus services in the area during the net zero, energy and transport portfolio questions in Parliament.

He said: “I’m still hearing stories from my constituents about folks waiting at bus stops for hours for services that never arrive, and complete route withdrawals leaving communities isolated.

“Unfortunately, despite multiple efforts to reach out, I have still been unable to speak directly with McGill’s about their plans to improve services in Clacks.

“There has to be more accountability from private bus operators who are in receipt of significant public funds from the Scottish Government.”