North east Fife community fights to save bus service

Bus company Stagecoach has proposed a number of changes to its services across the east of Scotland.
Bus company Stagecoach has proposed a number of changes to its services across the east of Scotland.

Proposed changes to bus services in north east Fife have been met opposition from the local community.

Bus company Stagecoach has been reviewing its network of services across the east of Scotland and has put together a set of proposals for changes which are due to come into effect in May.

The proposals include the abolition of the 77B bus, currently providing a direct hourly service linking Dundee, Newport on Tay and Wormit.

That has angered many people in the area, with the issue due to be raised with Stagecoach representatives at a meeting of the Newport, Wormit and Forgan Community Council this Monday (March 26), in the Upper Blyth Hall, Newport on Tay, at 7.30pm.

A statement from the community council says the proposed change would leave Newport, Wormit and Gauldry with only be an hourly bus service to Dundee, instead of the current half hourly service.

It goes on: “Importantly the 77B is routed to serve the elevated areas of Newport, including the Craighead Care Home, doctors’ surgery and chemists.

“Access to these areas is more difficult, particularly in the sort of conditions we have experienced this winter.

“Fife Council suggests that those affected by the removal of the 77B should use a 77 bus and then a Moffat and Williamson 92 series bus to access the higher areas.

“But this bus does not go to Dundee, only runs every two hours in each direction and could involve lengthy waits at boarding and setting down stops.

“Add to this the greater demand for seats on the 77 following the demise of the 77B and the scene is set for a far less comfortable journey than we presently enjoy.”

The proposed changes to services put forward by Stagecoach have been open for consultation on the company’s website. The consultation period ends today (Friday).

The community council says anyone who hasn’t had the chance to register their views is welcome to attend Monday’s meeting to comment directly to the bus comoany’s representatives.

Stagecoach said it keeps its services under constant review to improve reliability, incorporate suggestions and meet customer requests wherever possible.

It pointed out that many of the proposed changes are in direct response to such requests from its customers.

The company added: “Within these proposals, there are some service reductions and withdrawals.

“The vast majority of our services are operated commercially without local authority subsidy, for which revenue from fares, tickets and concessionary travel must cover all the costs of operation.

“A small number of services no longer cover these costs and regrettably are no longer viable to continue operating in their present form.”

Stagecoach said the reason for the proposal to withdraw the 77B from daytime service was due to low passenger numbers.

The company said: “The Fife Council tendered service 92 provides an alternative facility covering much of the 77B route within Newport, from which passengers can interchange to Stagecoach services 77 and X54 to Dundee at Newport High Street.”

Stagecoach also pointed out that contracted evening journeys would remain unaffected.