Concern as bus company scraps ‘flag down’ service

Councillor Kay on the Quarry Road where buses used to stop
Councillor Kay on the Quarry Road where buses used to stop

A Kirkcaldy councillor is urging a bus company to act quickly to solve a problem causing inconvenience and expense to people living in rural areas outside Kirkcaldy.

Councillor George Kay says a number of people who live along the B9157 Quarry Road, between Kirkcaldy and Dalgety Bay, have contacted him in recent weeks saying the “flag down” service, whereby passengers can stop a bus anywhere along the route to get on and off, had been stopped. It affects the X58, X60 and X62 services between Kirkcaldy and Dalgety Bay.

And the passengers have told him they were not informed it was happening.

One business says the change is impacting on it – and now Stagecoach is looking for ‘safe’ stopping points along the busy road which has a 60 mph limit.

Cllr Kay raised the issue with the bus company after approaches from a number of people.

He said: “This just appears to have happened without any notice given, around four or five weeks ago.

“I regret it is causing very real hardship to these communities and also some businesses.

“I understand some residents have been taken all the way into Kirkcaldy and then have to pay for a taxi to retrace their steps.

“I have been told it has been done for health and safety reasons, but to do it without first consulting passengers to get their views, or even to let them know in advance, seems inconsiderate to me.

“I appreciate the motivation here but I must ask – has there ever been an accident which is attributable to any bus stopping?”

Councillor Kay said Fife Council has money set aside for major improvement works to parts of the road, which has witnessed numerous accidents in recent years.

And he called on Stagecoach to work with the local authority to incorporate bus provision.

In a letter to the bus company he asked: “While these discussions are progressing, can I urge that you revert to the practice which has been in place for decades and resume normal service to these isolated communities?”

A spokesman for Stagecoach East Scotland said it was looking into the matter, adding: “We are currently arranging to meet with Fife Council and Police Scotland to agree on suitable, safe stopping points on Quarry Road. Safety is our absolute priority and will be the fundamental factor when making decisions about said stops.

“Following these meetings, we are looking to recommence stopping along this road as soon as we can.

“Given the safety concerns that exist, we cannot until these have been satisfactorily addressed.”