A local bus service is to continue being subsidised as it is attracting more passengers than expected.
Bus operator Bay Travel reported that in the last six months more than 5000 passengers had used the 13/L3 service, which links parts of Levenmouth and West Wemyss with a service to and from Kirkcaldy. This was in excess of original estimates and showed the demand for the service.
Levenmouth area committee convener Ken Caldwell said: “I’m glad to see this vital transport link is being well used. Local people told us this bus service was needed and usage figures demonstrate the demand is there.”
At the committee meeting, Councillor Caldwell added: “But while figures have exceeded expectation, they are not at a commercially viable stage.”
Councillor David Graham said: “It is absolutely important to support it, but we can’t keep running the service out of the area budget, as that’s being reduced year on year. I agree we need to find a way to fund it, but going forward we need to find the best way to do that.”
David Paterson, community manager, said: “Most buses in the area do have some sort of subsidy. But transport wouldn’t take this route on until they knew it was being used. In the next four to five months, this gives us enough time to get a report together to go back to transport and say why it should be subsidised.”
Niall Douglas, Bay Travel service operations manager, welcomed the continuation of funding and said: “We are happy with the amount of passengers that have used the service since it began in August.
“As well as linking West Wemyss and parts of East Wemyss and Buckhaven with a through bus to Leven, the L3 is linked with Service 13 which means it provides a direct link with Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy Town Centre and Fife Central Retail Park.
“This means residents in areas such as McDuff and the Bird scheme in Buckhaven can get a direct bus to attend hospital appointments.”