Residents’ fury as ‘vital’ bus service faces the axe

0611062 SSHC wormit bus 'Community Council Chairman Stewart McKiddie (extreme right) with other residents of Wormit protesting at the re-routing of the No 77 bus at Bay Road, Wormit
0611062 SSHC wormit bus 'Community Council Chairman Stewart McKiddie (extreme right) with other residents of Wormit protesting at the re-routing of the No 77 bus at Bay Road, Wormit

OUTRAGE has been expressed in Newport and Wormit over the proposed axeing of a “vital” bus service.

Stagecoach has confirmed it is due to withdraw the 77A due to a lack of demand for the service.

However, members of the local community are furious at the move which they say would make the everyday lives of many residents – especially the elderly and less able – much more difficult.

Stewart McKiddie, chair of Newport, Wormit and Forgan Community Council, said it was hoped to change the mind of Stagecoach East’s commercial manager, Douglas King, when he meets with the community council on Monday night to hear their concerns.

Mr McKiddie said: “We have received numerous email messages and telephone calls regarding the withdrawal of local bus services.

“The service which is being withdrawn is the 77A, which serves Kirk Road and Waterstone Crook in Newport and Bay Road area of Wormit.

“The vast majority of complaints are from residents of Bay Road, Craigshannoch Road, Glenleven Drive, Strathblair Avenue and Devonlea Terrace in Wormit.”

He went on: “The walk to the main road is half a mile, uphill and the last part involves a steep climb up a sloping path and a series of steps.

“This is really impossible for elderly people especially when carrying shopping.”

Mr McKiddie also pointed that the proposal to withdraw the service had come at a time when the Scottish Government and Fife Council are encouraging the reduction of carbon emissions and the use of public transport.

He said: “ In Wormit in particular, there are no houses for the elderly or sheltered accommodation, therefore residents wishing to remain in the village have no choice but to keep their homes and rely on a bus service to get to shops, doctors surgery, dentist etc.”

Mr McKiddie said the community council also challenged Stagecoach figures which claim the service is not well-used.

He also pointed out that some roads would lose priority status for gritting if they were no longer part of a designated bus route.

Local councillor Tim Brett said: “In the past when there have been proposed changes to bus routes or timetables, our local councillors, Fife Council and the community council have been consulted, resulting in reasonable and effective compromises.

“On this occasion there has been no consultation whatsoever therefore the community has had no opportunity to suggest an alternative proposal or compromise.”

Douglas King, commercial manager with Stagecoach East Scotland said: “Unfortunately we have identified that route 77A is not commercially viable due to low passenger numbers on sections of the route, and we have had to take action in order to provide a commercially sustainable network of services in the area for the future.

“Despite service 77A being withdrawn from February 21, the route 77B variation will act as a replacement, continuing to offer a simpler frequency incorporating an hourly 77 along with an hourly 77B, in order to better serve the majority of passengers in the Gauldry, Wormit and Newport area.”

Mr King said he would be happy to discuss the issue with local residents at Monday’s meeting which is due to be held in the Blyth Hall at 7.30pm.