Down and out and forgotten about?
That’s the question being raised by town leaders after a vital bus service serving southern Levenmouth and the Wemyss villages was removed.
Allen Armstrong, of environmental group CLEAR said the move by transport company Stagecoach was just the latest in a number of snubs for the area, including the distinct lack of any rail links to or from East Fife, while Councillor John O’Brien has said he is “astonished” by the decision.
However, Stagecoach has hit back, explaining that the revision was necessary because of an increase in passenger numbers.
In November, the X26 and X27 routes were changed meaning the buses now completely by-pass Methil, Buckhaven, East and West Wemyss on the way from St Andrews to Kirkcaldy.
Although this part of the route is now served by the new X8, some residents claim their journeys are now longer and more complicated, with many having to change at Kirkcaldy to get to their destination.
Speaking to the Mail, Allen said: “Already the largest urban area in Scotland unconnected by rail, this latest snub to southern Levenmouth seems to have passed by unnoticed.”
Councillor John O’Brien said it was a bad start to 2014 for the people of Methil, Buckhaven and the Wemyss villages. “I am astonished that Fife Council administration and the bus company can let this happen and will be raising this first thing with the other councillors in the area,” said Cllr O’Brien. “The service is a life line to generations of families in the area. “With no train service also in the Levenmouth area I would agree with Allen - this is a direct snub to the people of Levenmouth.”
Councillor David Graham added: “I am very aware that Stagecoach put a connection service on in its place but this alternative must serve the needs of the community which is where my main concerns sit at present. “As a local councillor I am committed to ensuring that the service received from Stagecoach is adequate for the people locally and I shall continue to challenge when the service does not meet the needs.”
Neil Brodie (37), a customer specialist for Sky uses the bus to get to work in Dunfermline. Catching it near to his home in Methil, he says he used the X27 daily but now his journey has been made much harder because the revised route visits his area 15 minutes later than the previous service.
Sixty-year-old Evelyn Beck, also from Methil, said the change to the local service from the town means she now has to change at Kirkcaldy when travelling to her job as a clerical assistant in Dalgety Bay. “I still get the same No 8 but have to get off at Kirkcaldy and run round the station to get the 58. I can get the 60 but this only stops at Dalgety train station - further for me to walk to work.”
A spokesman from Stagecoach said: “Due to the growth in customers using the service, Stagecoach in Fife introduced new larger coaches on to the X27 in November. These larger coaches are too heavy when carrying passengers to pass over a weight restriction at a weak bridge in Leven and so the service had to be split. “The X8 runs at the same frequency as the old service and provides for well timed connections towards Glasgow at Kirkcaldy Bus Station.”