Message from the Editor, Menstrie Matters, September 2013
I attended a meeting about transport in Clackmannanshire. I had been asked before about the continuation of the No. 68 bus that goes into the back (flat) side of the Community Hospital. I can assure everyone that there has been another contract negotiated and it is safe for the future. It is certainly a good bus to take to the hospital if you have breathing or joint problems.
I am writing this in late August so the following may have changed by the time I return from holidays. You will have noted that the H1 bus is still running to Forth Valley Royal Hospital (FVRH). This bus is still under review and we are still at risk of losing it. Studies have shown that it is fairly well used from Alva and Menstrie but only to Alloa. It is not getting the usage to the hospital to make it viable!
Can I just take this opportunity to say though, that Menstrie people can take a bus into Stirling bus station every 20 minutes where they can get a bus to FVRH every 10 minutes. I appreciate that it means a change of bus but we are well serviced and it doesn't take any longer than going with the H1.
When I attended the meeting it was really just to compile a survey of the transport needs of Clackmannanshire. I made it very clear that the best thing about the H1 was it took you directly to Alloa and you didn't have the unbelievable 45 minute journey on the bus that goes from Menstrie to Alloa via Tillicoultry. I had cause to take that bus recently and I couldn't believe how indirect that bus was!!
Hopefully, if we do lose the H1, the council will listen and encourage someone to take the Alva/Menstrie direct route.
I was at a meeting on Friday 20th September at which the subject was hospital transport in Clackmannanshire and, of course, the main topic was the H1 bus. The outcome was that the H1 bus will continue to run until March 31st 2014, after which it will be withdrawn.
For this service to break even it must carry 36,000 passengers per month within the route. Currently it carries 7,500 - 8,000 passengers per month!! This bus service is just unviable and costing the NHS a lot of money. In the annual travel survey it was found that only 5 people came off any H1/H2 bus arriving at FVRH.
There is ongoing planning to create a cheaper form of transporting people from our area to FVRH and I shall be able to keep you informed of this in the future.