A NEW contract to provide public transport links between Helensburgh and the area's two nearest hospitals has been awarded to a Dumbarton-based company.

The deal to run the 340 bus service between Helensburgh, the Vale of Leven Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital has been awarded to McColl's Travel Ltd, who will take over from local operator Wilson's of Rhu.

The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) awarded a new contract for the route at a meeting in Glasgow on Friday.

The new deal will cost the taxpayer £143,640 over the three years of the contract.

Meanwhile, another local operator, Garelochhead Coaches, will continue operating the 316 bus route between Helensburgh, Garelochhead and Coulport for another three years after SPT’s operations committee approved the award of a contract worth £67,500.

The committee approved the award of the two contracts – and 45 other deals throughout the SPT area – at a meeting in Glasgow on Friday.

The committee was also informed of an amendment to an existing contract which will see Luss served in both directions by services 305 (Alexandria-Luss) and 306 (Alexandria-Helensburgh).

Both routes are currently operated by Garelochhead Coaches with subsidy from SPT.