Bus operator’s U-turn just the ticket with pensioners

Happy passengers with their bus passes: from left, Dorothy McIntosh, Nadie Willard, Margaret Harris, Keith McIntosh, Agnes Laing, Betty Watson and Ingrid Haas.
Happy passengers with their bus passes: from left, Dorothy McIntosh, Nadie Willard, Margaret Harris, Keith McIntosh, Agnes Laing, Betty Watson and Ingrid Haas.

People in Cupar have expressed their joy after pensioner power helped overturn a plan to axe a ‘lifeline’ bus service.

Bosses at Stagecoach were met with a furious response when they announced a proposal to scrap the X42, which provides the only direct link between Cupar and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

But this week the protesters’ fury turned to relief when it was announced that the operator had decided not to cut the service after all – although it will be re-named the X53.

Douglas Robertson, commercial director for Stagecoach East Scotland, said: “We really appreciate the customer feedback we’ve received during our consultation events, whether in person, at our drop in sessions, via our web form or feedback forms returned to us.

“We’re now using this time to go through the feedback received and are currently making adjustments to our proposals where possible.

“ We’re pleased to note that we can respond to customer feedback in the area by retaining the link to Ninewells from Cupar and we were always planning to add more evening journeys on the route, as well as introduce a Sunday service. We have also launched more modern, low floor buses for service X42 which feature free customer WiFi, leather seats and air conditioning, providing a luxury journey on this express route.

“Our final plans for timetable changes will be announced week commencing July 4, where a summary of the plans will be available on our website and in local press. Full timetable leaflets and online journey planning should be available by the end of July.”

Dorothy McIntosh, secretary of Cupar Elderly Forum –which has already succeeded in overturning a Stagecoach plan to move a bus stop - said she was delighted with the decision.

“Stagecoach has listened, and people power has worked yet again,” she told the Fife Herald.

“We encouraged our members at Cupar Elderly Forum to make their presence felt on the day and they came out in force.”

Stephen Gethins, MP for North East Fife, also welcomed the change of heart, saying: “I was very pleased to receive a reply to my letter to Fife Council which confirms that following liaison with Stagecoach, the bus operator has agreed to re-instate the section between Dundee Bus Station and Ninewells Hospital. This is a lifeline service for so many people in North East Fife and I am glad this has been recognised.

“I hope Stagecoach will take on board the concerns expressed by other residents about proposed changes to their local services, particularly those serving Freuchie and Letham.”