Parking charges at stations would penalise commuters

Parking charges could be introduced at Markinch Station.
Parking charges could be introduced at Markinch Station.

Two Glenrothes councillors have slammed proposals that could see travel consessions scrapped and parking charges introduced at train stations.

The controversial proposals are among 49 that Fife Council officers have drawn up as part of a review of transportation services which could be approved when the administration meet to decide the 2015/16 budget on February 12.

The move is part of the Council’s continuing attempt to bridge a £77 million funding gap in their budget.

Cllr John Beare told the Gazette he has “real concerns” over some of the proposals.

“Markinch station is on the current short list so not only is it proposed to stop the rail concession, but those who travel, as well as having to pay for the travel, will also have to pay to park their cars,” said Cllr Beare.

He added: “The Dial-a-Ride and Ring-a-Ride services, which are a vital service for vulnerable people, have also been targeted with the recommendation that a £1 charge be made and stopping evening services and at weekends.

“There is the suggestion that the subsidy to those less well used bus services be cut by £1 million, which could only lead to a reduction in bus services to some towns and villages leaving some people stranded at evenings and weekends.”

Fellow Glenrothes SNP councillor Ross Vettraino said he is concerned about the failure to consult with the public.

“While I doubt that the administration will accept all the cuts, my very real concern is that they will seek to bury the cuts in their upcoming budget and there will be no time for consultation with the people of Fife, about the cuts they do want to accept,” said the councillor.

He added: “These proposals, if approved by the Council, will penalise communters, cause hardship to many vulnerable people and would damage local economies, this administration needs to beheld to account.”

49-point officers proposal that could save £10.8m from budget

The 49-point budget review of Fife Council’s transportation services would deliver a £10.8 million saving if all adopted.

Stopping rail consessions would save an estimated £430,000 while ending free school transport for non-eligible pupils would save £400,000.

The introduction of parking charges at rail interchanges including Markinch station and at park and ride facilities in Dunfermline and Inverkeithing would help save £750,000 per year.

Councillor Pat Callaghan, executive spokesman for transportation services reacted stronglyto the criticism saying the councillors were opting for cheap political points scoring at a time when serious financial issues needed to be addressed.

He said: “We asked officers in 2013 to go and look at all aspects of transportation and this document contains the proposals which have been devised objectively and without political bias.

“Difficult decisions have to be made and are severely hampered by the systematic ‘rate capping’ administered by the Scottish Government on councils.”