Fears are growing among staff that Fife Council’s Dial-a-Ride service, relied upon by some of Fife’s most vulnerable people, is to be scrapped.
Employees were informed on December 22 that transportation bosses had submitted a proposal to axe the council’s Dial-a-Ride and Ring & Ride services as part of desperate measures to save money ahead of the 2017 budget being set in February.
If the council goes ahead with the plan, around 50 staff would lose their jobs, while hundreds of users, many of them elderly or disabled who rely on the vital service in Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline and Levenmouth areas, would be left without any free-to-use transportation.
“News of the proposal has ruined Christmas for staff and for our clients, the council doesn’t care, we are just a number to it,” one employee told the Fife Free Press.
“Why scrap a valuable service completely.
“It could have scrapped backshifts and weekends to save money.
“If Fife Council is allowed to go ahead and scrap the service it means people are going to become prisoners in their own homes, face exclusion from society, and forced to pay for taxis they cannot afford.”
Fife Council has defended its position over the proposals being submitted and has stressed that no decision over the future of the bus service has yet been made.
“Like previous years, we have prepared information on a range of options that could, theoretically, save money within the service,” said Ken Gourley, head of assets, transportation and environment.
“This is to help councillors consider the budget for the year ahead. Some ideas may be progressed, some won’t be and councillors might also put forward different proposals.
“We understand that Fife Bus is a service valued by many people.
“Unfortunately, as has been well publicised, with demand for so many essential and statutory services increasing we simply don’t have enough money to keep running everything the same way.
“Choices about where to spend and save have to be made and councillors will make these choices in February.”