Collaborative legislation process
Serious problems like climate change need serious responses. Free (or very cheap) bus travel for all would be good first step and is being trialled in various places around the world. Drastic measures like this are the only way to break the current dependency on cars and increase the frequency of busses making it a practical way to get around.
Will there be a full environmental impact assessment done, or any changes that are proposed? We are facing a climate emergency, Fife Council has acknowledged that. So we need to make sure that all policy changes are consistent with reducing Fife's carbon footprint.
There will be integrated impact assessments done as part of assessing the feasibility of different options that come out of the process. These will be done in the later stages of the process and the assessments will consider the impact on equality groups, the economy and the environment.
Having moved form west fife to east fife. I do find the bus services very different. I can now visit villages next door to each other from leven right to st andrews. In west Fife I could never do this. Villages are not connected in west fife, you need to go to Dunfermline first. This reduced access to friends and jobs growing up.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute. Could you please give me an indication of which towns you found difficult to get to in West Fife i.e. was it travel to Falkirk, Alloa, Kincardine, Culross. Further information will help when it comes to the next stages of this exercise.
Services to Alloa and Culross are time restricted as it's hourly which can be off putting. There is also no service to Stirling which is pretty poor.
Travel in areas like Edinburgh is more economical and more consistent. Will Fife council ever have a bus service that provides value for money. Edinburgh do a day ticket at a flat rate, none of this west or east or central that stagecoach runs. Can we also just do what Edinburgh does and not need to speak to the driver for specific locations, it's so much quicker asking for a single fayre or a day ticket.
I think it is great that you are consulting on this. But you can't discuss these topics in isolation from wider transportation policy and budget. Specifically, re school travel:
"Another 2,400 pupils, who aren’t entitled to free travel, pay a fare to use any spare space on subsidised school buses or local bus services – this still costs the council £1.2m a year."
This seems crazy - we are paying for these kids to get the bus to school when most could easily walk or cycle. My instinct is to stop this altogether BUT you would need a major programme of work on facilities and behaviour change to encourage the kids to cycle or walk instead, and to discourage the parents from driving them to school. Would that happen?
Thanks for your contribution. Although the focus is on passenger transport services, you are right to highlight that we will need to look at this in the round. Through the Design Together stage of the process we hope to explore and discuss issues that have been raised like this further to make recommendations about what passenger transport services in Fife could look like in the future.
Two comments: living rurally outside Cupar we find it impossible to get to the East Neuk other than what can be a 2 hour bus journey, can the notorious Higham Toll boundary be made easier to cross by public transport? The Flexibus should win awards for its work in the areas it covers, a brilliant service all round, please extend this further ie to East Neuk, to Leven and even Glenrothes as well as north towards Tayport etc. Secondly, why are so many taxis used by Bell Baxter to transport children home and how is it decided which children get this service? Especially as the school is slashing budgets on everything else, including not being able to provide teachers in some subjects and basic necessities such as toilet paper and soap in the toilets?
Thank for your comments. When the Go Flexi service was first launched it won an award under the ‘Putting the Customer First’ category of the Fife Partnership Excellence Awards, it then won under the ‘Accessibility’ category at the Scottish Transport awards. The Go Flexi is designed for people who don’t have direct access to the public transport network and takes them to their nearest interchange point for onward travel. Areas like Leven and Glenrothes already have well established bus routes. Cross boundary linkups can certainly be considered for the next tender design for North Fife in August 2021. The consultation for Fife Councils supported services in North Fife will begin in May/June next year. The survey will be on Fife Direct, please look out for it. Response continued below...
Taxis are contracted to provide home to school transport for children who live in rural areas that aren’t on a school bus route and for children with additional support needs that cannot use the school bus. A taxi can be used to take a child to meet the nearest school bus or direct to the school. Before transport is arranged for children with additional support needs, school staff carry out an assessment of each individual child and make a recommendation about the most appropriate form of transport.
The catchment area for Bell Baxter HS is large and many children live in rural areas which means there are more taxis being used here than are required at some other schools. The school also has a Department of Additional Support and most of these children travel by taxi, either alone or in a small group.
How does the subsidised bus services work better in other places like Edinburgh and the Lothians in comparison to Fife? The paying passengers in Fife are hit more in the pocket for daily travel whereas in Edinburgh and the Lothians they have a system of a single fare price for any distance. Can the people in Fife not receive similar subsidised bus services?
Thank you for your feedback, it is difficult to compare bus use/fares in Fife with that of Edinburgh. The majority of services operated in Edinburgh are operated commercially and are not subsidised. The bus operators in Edinburgh benefit form very high bus patronage, partly driven by congestion issues and high parking charges etc, which allows them to offer discounted fares.
Fife has ridiculous parking fees too. Especially Dunfermline. Perhaps if bus charges were not astronomical more folk would use the bus!!!! Plus it would be better value to have competition for stagecoach in Fife. Stagecoach does as it pleases due to no competition, therefore they can offer a poor service knowing passengers have no other option
If you want to know more about what is available to support people to travel around Fife, a new leaflet on Travel Options has recently been developed which is available at http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/concessionarytravel or from http://publications.fifedirect.org.uk/c64_Travel_Options_lealfet19.09.2019.pdf
Bus services will never be satisfactory until they are run by companies controlled by Fife Council. That is only way to have a properly integrated system so that journeys using more than one service can link up properly.