£1.75m funding for buses to tie in with train service return in Levenmouth

Levenmouth councillors have agreed to fund £1.75 million of new regional bus services to complement the return of a train service to the area for the first time in 50 years.
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It’s a major milestone for the Levenmouth Reconnected Programme and a major boost for local communities, according to councillors. The money will fund a suite of new and improved bus services through the region over the next three years.

“The option we’ve chosen is the one we feel provides the best balance between the service needs and what’s required to the people of Levenmouth and gives us some potential commercial viability in the future,” said Tony McRae, service manager for Fife’s Passenger Transport Services.

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“We’re taking a crucial step forward with the agreement to fund the bus service for the next three years,” Councillor Eugene Clarke (Lib-Dem for Leven, Kennoway and Largo) added. “It will connect not just Levenmouth but also outwith Levenmouth to the train service. It will give us the seamless, integrated transport approach that we’ll want to have in place.”

The bus links will dovetail with the new rail services (Pic: Submitted)The bus links will dovetail with the new rail services (Pic: Submitted)
The bus links will dovetail with the new rail services (Pic: Submitted)

There were three options on the table ranging from nearly £400,000 per year to nearly £2 million per annum..

However, councillors were able to negotiate a hybrid option which balances the best possible bus services with the least possible expense.

Mr McRae said it maximises the benefits from other options and minimises the annual cost.

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At the end of three years, it is hoped that at least some of the bus services and routes will be commercially viable and will be able to run without subsidy.

For now the decision goes beyond money and commercial viability. Councillor Ken Caldwell (SNP for Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss villages) said it was a crucial milestone for the Levenmouth Reconnected Programme.

“This is so important because the railway goes into Leven and Windgates, but not everybody lives there,” he said. “This covers the whole of Levenmouth - from Largo and beyond to East Neuk and Anstruther and way up to Kennoway and to the Wemyss villages - to link in to the railway station. The improved bus service will mean that they can get access to the railway stations and also improve access within the communities as well.”

Councillor Alistair Suttie (SNP for Leven, Kennoway and Largo) emphasised that it’s good to get the buses and rail link integrated as much as possible.

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“I’ve been a commuter for all my life and I can appreciate the fact that these things have to be linked to provide a good service,” Cllr Suttie said.

“We really need to be making sure that folk can get off a bus and go on the train and get off the train and go on a bus. It is vitally important for folk - not everybody lives in Leven or Windygates - they go beyond there. They’ll be looking to complete their journeys in a good fashion.”

He added: This decision makes it accessible to a lot more people so we’re glad we’ve come to a decision and hopefully we can get the bus companies organised to have the service ready for the start of the rail link.”

The proposed service improvements are:

43 and 44 – Current Fife Council evening and Sunday service 43. Operates 1830-0030, 0800-0030 hourly.

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49 – Current Fife Council and Sunday service 49. Existing service revised to become a circular service 48 and 49 to provide bus/rail connections. Operates 1830-0030, 0800-0030 hourly.

48 and 49 – New early morning, Monday to Saturday journeys. 0500-0630. Two journeys service 48, two journeys service 49.

47 and 47A – New daytime service providing direct links between Kennoway and Cameron Bridge Rail Station, extending to Leven Bus Station. 0500-0030 hourly. Evening and Sunday service direct links between Cameron Bridge Rail to Leven Bus Station.

7 – New early morning and late evening, Monday to Sunday, journeys providing bus/rail connections. 0500-0715, 2300-0030. Two morning journeys, two late night journeys.

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95 – New Monday to Saturday early morning journeys and Sunday evening journey between Anstruther - St Monans – Elie - Upper Largo - Lower Largo - Lundin Links to Leven Bus Station. 0500-0800, 2330-0015. Morning journeys, one late night journey from Leven.

Further details on the new services including start dates and timetables will be confirmed as soon as possible.

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