the ruralink service was part of the government's programme of rural transport experiments (rutex). it provided a bus service between dalmellington and the cumnock/new cumnock area, including ballochmyle hospital, all in the cumnock and doon valley district in the strathclyde region. the service was operated by western smt ltd, using a 14-year old 27-seat bus, from 11 april 1978 to 30 june 1979. it provided return journeys between dalmellington, cumnock and ballochmyle on tuesdays, wednesdays, thursdays and sundays. a postbus service was originally planned for the experiment, but when this proved impracticable, western smt were contracted to provide the service. at the same time the scope of the experiment was enlarged by tailoring the service more to the requirements of hospital visitors. the service was unconventional in that there were three optional diversions from the regular route, which were made on request; this arrangement was used about three times a week, and worked well. although the service was well suited to the needs of people without cars making hospital or social visits, overall demand averaged only 210 passengers per week, and revenue covered less than 20 per cent of costs.(a)

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