The X19 Bo’ness to Edinburgh, which was scheduled to be withdrawn by First Scotland, will continue to run until the end of March 2013 - after more than 2,000 people signed a local petition.
Falkirk Council’s Policy and Resources committee agreed to step in to replace the service - and others across the area - while a wide scale review of non-commercial bus operations would be undertaken.
As s1bo’ness reported recently, the X19 was due to be withdrawn in November 2012 because the service was “little used.”
As a result, commuters were facing having to travel all the way to the nearest train station in Linlithgow.
This understandably concerned many locals, who launched a campaign to try and save the service.
Anne Travers, who was involved in the campaign, welcomed the decision to prolong the service but advised that the issue was far from over.
Thanking all those who signed the campaign petition, she commented: “The fight now goes on to retain these services for the good of Bo'ness, its continuing development, access to more job opportunities, further education, tourism etc.”
Local campaigner Rab Jeffrey added: “The campaign is certainly not over and alternatives may have to be found to retain this service.”
The council review, expected by the end of January 2013, will look at all aspects of these types of services and make further recommendations to elected members.
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed the decision but described the time from now until January as “some breathing space to find a long-term solution.”
He said: “While this will result in a temporary reprieve it is clear the battle to retain the X19 service is not over yet.
The following services will be replaced from Monday, October 29 2012 with an alternative service that will replicate the current level offered by First Scotland:
Falkirk Council also plans to maintain bus services from Callander Park and provide evening connections between Bo’ness and Linlithgow.
Councillor Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “Many of these services serve outlying communities and therefore can be seen as very important to help sustain the local economy and allow local residents access to amenities elsewhere in the area.
“The commercial decision by First to withdraw these services has left us in a very difficult situation and we see this as being the only way we can balance the needs of communities with the harsh realities of constrained budgets.
“We need to take a closer look at these services provided but in the meantime; we can operate a substitute service that can support our communities.”
Did you sign the petition? Anne has a facebook petition here. There is also a paper petition available. Contact Rab Jeffrey at email@example.com.