Two local bus services which were set to be axed have been saved after Fife Council stepped in.
The early morning 108 service, used by hospital workers, will continue with a council subsidy, while morning services on the 14 route from Dunnikier Estate to the town centre that were cut by Stagecoach will now be run by Bay Travel, also with council support.
Both services were to be discontinued by Stagecoach when it introduced its new timetables last week.
Kirkcaldy councillor David Ross welcomed the retention of the services but hit out at the cuts.
“Stagecoach planned to stop the 108 service, but will continue operating its current route and times thanks to a subsidy. This will ensure that hospital and shift workers will retain access to Victoria Hospital and the bus station.
“Two early morning journeys will also be retained within the service 14 timetable to allow passengers travelling to the bus and railway stations to arrive prior to 7.30 and 8.00am.
“These journeys will be operated by Bay Travel with Stagecoach Megarider tickets accepted.”
“It’s very disappointing that Stagecoach is still cutting routes in Kirkcaldy. The 14 was cut last year from a 20 minute service to once an hour despite a petition.
“Local bus services are an important public service. If the council had the power to regulate them or was able to run them itself, it could use income from profitable routes to subsidise those that are less well used. Stagecoach seems happy to keep all the profit and rely on the council to subsidise services that don’t make it enough money.”
Douglas Robertson, commercial director, Stagecoach East Scotland said: “Usage of services in Kirkcaldy has declined considerably in recent years in line with the general decline of the town centre and this issue has been raised with Cllr Ross, as we were keen to discuss what’s being done to regenerate the town centre.
“Unfortunately there have been no significant actions to deliver change and the number of passengers using some services continues to fall dramatically in line with general footfall in the town.
“As operating costs continue to rise, we must ensure we can operate as comprehensive a network as possible across the whole of the region to ensure a sustainable public transport solution and sadly, on occasion, this means making difficult decisions for journeys which are poorly utilised.”