We’re at mercy of Stagecoach - says councillor

Leven bus station
Leven bus station

A Levenmouth councillor has launched a scathing attack on Fife’s primary bus provider after a petition was issued following a cut to local services.

Councillor Andrew Rodger said that Fife and the local Levenmouth communities were “at the mercy” of Stagecoach, which runs the majority of routes in the Kingdom.

He also called on Fife Council to be tougher and make more of an effort to tender services to other private companies.

Cllr Rodger made the comments during a local area committee discussion after elected members were presented with a petition from communities affected by the removal of the 13 service.

The petition was issued after Fife Council removed the wholly subsidised route - run by Stagecoach - last August to cut costs of £1000 per day.

Speaking to fellow members, Cllr Rodger said: “Let’s be clear - Stagecoach is in it for profit, not for the community.

“We are at their mercy.

“We need to be tougher on them and look at getting other private companies in - Stagecoach need to be challenged.

“They have made millions out of the sale of their properties, but have put nothing back into our communities.

“I’m angry they are allowed to do what they’re doing.”

He added: “Unless we get more money from central government, we are at the mercy of Stagecoach.”

Garry Moyes, lead professional at Fife Council, said they were well aware of the lack of competition within Fife, but had been trying to encourage other companies to come into the Kingdom, with some success, especially on school bus contracts.

Following the removal of the service last year, Stagecoach has now implemented a new commercial route. However, some areas such as MacDuff and parts of Methil are not served.

A spokesman for Stagecoach East Scotland said: “The 113 route began on March 3 following consultation with local councillors regarding the withdrawal of the 13 from the village of East Wemyss and parts of Levenmouth, when Fife Council retendered the route last year.

“The new journeys on the 113 were created to restore a limited link between Leven and sections of the previous 13 route, which could be safely served by a large bus.

“Having just begun last week, it’s too early to make any decisions on the future of the route.

‘‘However we will be closely monitoring the use and reliability over the six month trial period which we have committed to.”

East Wemyss and MacDuff Community Council and Methil residents led by Helen Roberston have called for the 13 to be reinstated, or another service amended to cover those areas.