Council gives green light for new in-house bus service on C60 route

Stirling Council has agreed to launch an in-house pilot bus service to replace the C60 service between Killin and Callander.

The C60 service operates along the A84 corridor between Callander (pictured) and Killin.
The C60 service operates along the A84 corridor between Callander (pictured) and Killin.

A 16-seat minibus will operate four return journeys from Monday to Saturday between Killin and Callander for an initial two-year pilot period. It will follow the same route as the C60 service, passing through communities such Strathyre, Lochearnhead and Lix Toll along the A84.

The new service will start as soon as the required permit is granted by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner which can take up to eight weeks. 

Callander-based Kingshouse Travel, which operated on the route for 28 years, withdrew its contract for the Council-supported service on 31 March, citing challenges with driver recruitment for its decision.

The council opened the route up to tender in September last year, but received no responses from potential operators. A further tender process in January attracted one bidder, but their offer was considered significantly over budget and proposed a significantly reduced service.

Councillors agreed to the decision from a suite of costed options that included not providing a service (given it’s not a statutory service), retendering the service for a third time to external providers and exploring a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) provision.

The annual costs for running pilot will be £88.1k – 3.6k over the current budget allocated for the service. This additional spend will be met from part of a £42k budget set aside for transport pilots.

The right thing to do

Stirling Council Leader Cllr Chris Kane said: “It’s a major step for the council to take this bus service in-house, particularly when there are significant financial pressures on local government, but it’s the right thing to do.

“While we don’t have a statutory obligation to provide a service on this route, we understand the importance of having a public transport provision for people living along this section of the A84, whether that’s for travelling to work, appointments or leisure activities. 

“Following the decision of council, we will now work to get the service up and running as soon as possible and will keep communities updated on the situation.

“We will also continue to engage with communities to raise awareness of the new service and to encourage usage among residents and visitors, which will help reduce car journeys in the area.

“The pilot will also provide valuable lessons and experiences for future decisions on public transport provision.”  

An update on the progress of the pilot service will be presented to a future meeting of the Environment, Transport and Net Zero Committee.

More information

A recording of the council meeting and the report can be found on the Council’s webcast page.