Bus operator criticised over Fife service

Cllr Kennedy claims some residents are struggling to use the coaches.
Cllr Kennedy claims some residents are struggling to use the coaches.

Stagecoach has been criticised by a Cupar councillor over changes it has made to its direct Cupar to Ninewells Hospital service.

The bus operator removed its X53 service last month, replacing it with the X54, and changed the bus type.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy has hit out at Stagecoach for replacing the “fully accessible” X53 with the X54 coach, claiming some residents are struggling to use the new coach.

She told the Herald: “While I accept that the drivers will assist where possible, a standard coach is impossible to board for many who were regular users of the X53.

“A young mum, with a pram, heading to Ninewells for a hospital appointment was told to take a bus from Cupar to St Andrews then to Dundee and finally to Ninewells.

“Elderly finding they cannot board and giving up.

“The impact on people, who are requiring to get to Ninewells, often under some stress for what is ahead of them, is unacceptable.”

Cllr Kennedy has written a letter of complaint to Stagecoach about the change.

She has also asked council officers to question Stagecoach, for future consultations, if there will be a change in the type of bus used.

Douglas Robertson, Commercial Director, Stagecoach East Scotland, said: “The changes were made following previous customer feedback and took place after a period of public consultation. We have received numerous requests over the years for coaches rather than local buses on these longer routes.

“This feedback led to the changes in May which provided a luxury coach service to the area and maintained the direct service to Ninewells Hospital. Despite disappointing usage of the X53 we have been able to maintain the frequency of the main links from Cupar to Dundee and Glenrothes by incorporating the previous routings into the revised X26 and X54 services.

“All our coaches comply with all relevant accessibility legislation in full. The coaches are extremely well used by elderly and customers with mobility issue throughout our network. For those travelling with buggies there is storage onboard the coaches and our drivers are happy to assist any customers in boarding our vehicle as required.”