Stirling Council has agreed to launch an in-house, pilot bus service to replace the C60 service between Killin and Callander. A 16-seat minibus will operate four return journeys per day, 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. (Please note that this can take up to eight weeks.)

Callander-based Kingshouse Travel, which operated on the route for twenty-eight years, withdrew its contract for the Council-supported service on 31st March 2024, citing challenges with driver recruitment for its decision. The council opened up the route to tender in September 2023, but received no responses from potential operators. A further tender process in January 2024 attracted one bidder, but the offer was considered significantly over budget and proposed a significantly reduced service.

At a meeting of Stirling Council on 2nd May 2024, councillors were presented with a suite of costed options that included:

  • not providing a service (given that it’s not a statutory service);
  • re-tendering the service for a third time to external providers;
  • exploring an extended provision from the existing Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service;
  • a two-year pilot service using a 16-seater minibus (as described above).

They chose the fourth option. The annual costs for running the pilot service will be £88,100, which represents £3,600 over the current budget allocated for the service. This additional spend will be met from part of a £42,000 budget set aside for transport pilots. 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."

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