The Ayr-based firm have blamed the move on rising costs and they are set to meet with trade unions over the planned closure of the East Ayrshire depot with services continuing to operate from neighbouring depots.

The company says it has continued to see an increase in operating costs, including staff costs, energy, insurance and pensions costs. As a result - and taking into account the significant investment required to upgrade and maintain the depot - Stagecoach has announced plans to close the East Ayrshire garage from August 15.

The Cumnock depot currently has 81 staff based at the premises on Ayr Road - including 57 drivers. The company is currently consulting with trade union representatives over the potential impact on jobs. It is expected that the majority of employees will be relocated to another depot. It is expected that there will be no service reductions as a result of the closure, with all services operating from the Cumnock depot planned to be transferred to neighbouring Stagecoach depots.

The move comes just week’s after the Chronicle reported how the firm are set to axe the number 49 bus route between Criagens and Logan from May 11.

Local MSP Adam Ingram recently met with Stagecoach chiefs to discuss the axing of the number 49 and has told the Chronicle that he will seek further meetings with Stagecoach bosses regarding the latest announcement. Mr Ingram said: “I’m disappointed with this announcement. It’s a blow to the Cumnock area as it has been there since the day dot.

“Stagecoach seem to be perusing their own financial gain at the expense of the local communities with the cutting of route and now the announcement of the closure of the depot.

“The main issue I want to pursue with the company is that there are no compulsory redundancies or jobs losses and that the staff are relocated to either the Ayr or the Kilmarnock depot’s.” He added: “I am disappointed with Stagecoach and their tendancy to make these decisions without any consultation beforehand with the communities.” Tom Bridge, Managing Director of Stagecoach Scotland, said: “This has been a very difficult decision. However, it’s important that we do what is right for our business to ensure stability for the majority of our employees over the long-term. Our main concern now is to consult with staff and trade unions, looking at every option available to those affected.

“Like other sectors of the economy, we are continuing to see rising costs across our business. In addition, Cumnock depot is in need of significant modernisation, and the costs involved to do that work are prohibitive. We remain fully committed to providing high-quality bus services in the west of Scotland. This measure is an absolute last resort and it is with deep regret that we have had to take this decision. We will continue to work hard to minimise the number of employees affected by this.”