CLARITY has been provided on the future of "lifeline" bus services in North Ayrshire that were set to be scrapped from next week.

The X34 and X36 routes - taking passengers from Irvine, the Three Towns, the Garnock Valley and Glasgow - were due to be pulled on July 17 with operators Stagecoach West Scotland claiming they were no longer viable.

Following a well-attended public meeting last month organised by Beith and District Community Council, and correspondence between councillors, MSPs and the company, a glimmer of hope was offered.

The Scottish Government announced it was extending the Network Support Grant for transport firms until October 1, prompting MSP Kenneth Gibson to issue a statement claiming a "basic service" would be retained.

Stagecoach has now offered more detail on what that service will look like, with a spokesperson telling the Herald that the company is "committed to keeping local communities connected".

A statement said: "We acknowledge the feedback from residents in the Garnock Valley and we recognise the renewed commitment from the local community to utilise a bus service between the Garnock Valley and Glasgow.

"From July 17, we will introduce a revised timetable which will operate morning and evening peak time journeys between Ardrossan and Glasgow.

"During the main part of the day the X36 will operate an hourly service between Dalry and Glasgow.

"Those travelling between the Garnock Valley and Irvine or the Three Towns can use the local 25 and 11 services.

"We will continue to closely monitor the performance of the route over the coming months to ensure that it is sustainable.

"The viability of local bus services depends on people in our local communities using them, and by switching from car to public transport you can not only support the bus network but also contribute to a greener Scotland."

Full, updated timetables will be released in due course.

Kilwinning councillor Donald Reid said: "I welcome the clarity from Stagecoach and this ends the uncertainty on routes.

"The majority of changes proposed are to take place on July 17 as previously announced, with no extension to those dates.

"I'd encourage passengers to use these services as Stagecoach's commercial peak service will be watched by them."

The Herald also understands that SPT will introduce a small number of additional early morning services on the 25 and as an X36A (Sunday only) which Stagecoach West Scotland will operate.

Cllr Reid added: "The SPT service will operate as a lifeline but does also need passengers to sustain it."