Fife Council urged to rethink Park & Ride charge

The Ferrytoll Park and Ride facility at Inverkeithing
The Ferrytoll Park and Ride facility at Inverkeithing

Bus operator Stagecoach has urged Fife Council not to proceed with plans to introduce parking charges at its Ferrytoll and Halbeath Park & Ride facilities in Fife.

The company has warned of the potentially serious consequences of such a decision, based on evidence from elsewhere, which shows the damaging impact of parking charges on local bus use and the local environment.

It is understood that Fife Council is considering a proposal to introduce charges at Ferrytoll and Halbeath to increase its revenue from local facilities.

However, in Cambridge, there are plans to scrap a £1 Park & Ride charge introduced four years ago, after bus usage fell by 14 per cent as a result.

Stagecoach East Scotland Managing Director Paul Thomas said: “We understand that the council faces difficult financial decisions, however we have real concerns over what appear to be short-sighted proposals to introduce a parking charge at the Park & Ride sites.

“As we’ve seen elsewhere, this kind of charging scheme will hit regular commuters hard, potentially resulting in less people using the facilities and higher car use, contributing to even worse traffic congestion on our roads.”

He added: “It’s vital that we continue to work together to encourage more people to take advantage of the excellent public transport links available from the park & ride sites, particularly following the re-opening of the Forth Road Bridge as a dedicated public transport corridor for travel to Edinburgh.

“Buses and coaches are part of the solution for improved air quality and to help protect our local environment - but if we’re making it more expensive to use sites like Ferrytoll and Halbeath then, as we’ve seen elsewhere, we could push people back towards their cars and undermine all of the environmental benefits the bus can bring.”

Mr Thomas said he would welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter with the local authority to see if an alternative solution can be found.