The return of the C12 evening buses to the direct route finally started on the 18th January and all evening buses now go via Dumbarton Road. The times have been altered so please check before you travel. First Scotland East have produced a new booklet timetable, albeit 6 weeks after the service started. For anyone who has still not managed to get a copy they are sporadically available on some buses and local shops. However, keeping a regular supply at Stirling Bus Station seems to be an issue.
In January, Buchlyvie Community Council wrote to the Environment and Housing Convener at Stirling Council requesting that a Sunday Service on the Balfron to Stirling route now be considered a priority. This letter was supported by Balfron, Arnprior and Gargunnock (Kippen Community Council had yet to be formed). There is no further update on this, but we are hoping that both Stirling Council and First Bus will work together to address this matter and make this route accessible 7 days a week. The current situation for both tourists and villages on this route is unacceptable in today’s 24/7 world.
Unfortunately, the Friday and Saturday early evening pilot buses are not being supported. We hope to see a rise in numbers now that the bus is going the direct route via Dumbarton Road. However, if patronage does not improve, there is a strong possibility these two buses will be withdrawn.
The condition of the Balfron Buses continues to cause concern with yet another winter of no heating and water ingress on these old vehicles. There is no sign of the upgrades promised to Bruce Crawford MSP in June last year. The one fully refurbished Balfron bus still had no heating, and water ingress, after its upgrade. Other than a repaint, passengers failed to notice the vehicle had been refurbished at all! We are hoping that the new rules surrounding emissions in Glasgow will in turn force First to finally improve the quality of the vehicles operated out of the Balfron Depot.