Collaborative legislation process
Many people get around Oslo on electric scooters (not the motorbike sort) and I am certain that many schoolchildren would want to use this to get to school. Fife Council should push for this to be a legal and safe method of sustainable transportation.
Fife already has a relatively good passenger transport network. However, for future services in an ideal world, more integration of local and trunk bus and rail routes will be required. Public transport should therefore be fully funded, integrated, increased and improved rather than constantly cut as has been the case since the 1980's and deregulation. Fife is not a huge county and strategic hubs (probably no more than 4 or 5) could be set up where trunk and express services relay or pass through and integrate with local routes. This would have two main effects. Firstly, the main trunk and express routes could be more direct - rather than following a circuitous route to take in all of the areas that should be serviced by local buses. Secondly, local services could be customised to meet the needs of the local population more readily. And all this before we get to the issues of inappropriate use of old double deck buses and the need for smaller, alternative fuel vehicles!
Public transport in Scotland, outside of the Edinburgh area, is pretty archaic. Buses are old, expensive and not environmentally up to the job. Trains - as we all know - have been catastrophic in Fife these past 2 years with each excuse for a cancellation more feeble than the previous one. In an ideal world, there would be a regular and efficient tram service, considerably more modern and greener buses and trains that actually run. And, when they do, are formed of enough carriages so that people are not unsafely crammed in for the duration of the journey. Public transport also needs to run later, especially during events like the Edinburgh Festival or major sporting/concert occasions. Apps providing instant up to date information should be a given (take a bow for once, Scotrail). But public transport - anywhere - is expensive. Local councils do not have the budgets to provide what's needed and Governments won't provide it. So here we are.
Electric/hybrid buses to help with the environment and reduce harmful gases. More access and frequency to outlying villages and thus help to reduce people using their cars. More bus only routes and lanes. Electrify the Fife circular train service and onwards to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. More carriages especially at weekends when major events are happening in Edinburgh. Direct train route to Glasgow/Stirling.
People need to be able to afford to travel to work, to shop and for leisure purposes. We need to encourage more environmentally friendly travel. I am aware that some countries have experimented with free public transport. Personally I would like to see this to encourage people out of their cars - so a free travel ticket allowance might be given to those not owning a car. Surveys have shown that free travel would encourage a significant percentage 10-15% to give up car use I believe. Public transport does not always go where we want it to so this could not be a complete solution. A number of individuals and cycle groups contact me to request safer cycle paths and options to encourage cyclists - again to encourage people out of their cars and to bring about mental and physical health benefits. However, not all roads are safe and at the moment many buses do not allow cyclists to travel on them .This needs to change if cycling is to be encouraged and if we cannot provide cycle paths.
In an ideal world transports should be free. Or, a very minimal amount for integrated travel. A much more comprehensive coverage and more frequent time tabling. With centralization of medical services within Scotland people often have to travel outwith Fife to access treatments and at the moment it can be very costly in bus, train fares as well as time consuming. All local authorities have to look outwith their own area when it comes to transport. It should be a national effort to ensure a national service not just a very parochial one.
From my perspective the most effective way of making transport more effective and accessible is to create an integrated ticket. By this I mean something that can be used on all buses/ trains etc within the Region - without having to purchase separate tickets. By way of illustration I will cite the example of Budapest. In that particular city you can purchase a single ticket that enables use of the buses, trams, underground and light railway systems. Without doubt this encourages the use of the cities extensive transport infrastructure. I appreciate that this is a city and not a region like Fife – but it serves as an illustration of the fact that where transport infrastructures are linked, coordinated and affordable that there is a higher likelihood of public usage. You will notice that I have mentioned the term affordable, and this is without doubt a central tenet of a successful integrated transportation system. It has to be cost effective – and be seen to be so by the public.
Regarding Park and ride services. I think they have become over-used by those going on holiday. Some leave their cars for weeks while they are away which takes up spaces that could be used for daily commuters. As a fair and an economic measure I believe it would be prudent to separate the daily commuting area from the long term parking area. Then put a nominal charge: say £2.00 per day on the long term parking area to recover some income for the council that could be returned to transportation. After all, at the moment it is totally free for those going on holiday if this was not available they would need to pay a commercial parking company. So a nominal charge should be acceptable and if not and they decided to park elsewhere it would free up spaces for daily use.
I travel to Edinburgh up to 3 times per week and find the services offered from Fife to be excellent. My only issue is I return late at night and it is so very annoying that connecting buses are scheduled to leave just before an 'x' bus arrives! For example, the last X61 arrives in Cowdenbeath at 2345 and the last 19 leaves the same stop at 2344 - sometimes it is as if the driver sees the x arriving and just pulls away on purpose - very frustrating. Can schedules of the late night/final buses be looked at and maybe moved a couple of minutes to accommodate users?
The Kingdom of Fife has so much to offer when it comes to tourism. I think we are not lacking promoting Fife what we are lacking is the access to these unique places the Fife's heritage and historical tourist destination. Transportation is an integral part of tourism. According to the data published by VisitScotland, https://www.visitscotland.org/binaries/content/assets/dot-org/pdf/research-papers-2/insights---tourism-in-scotlands-regions-2016_update-may-18.pdf
I think the Kingdom of Fife can do better than that. By integrating transportation with local tourism, to small towns and villages where the local enterprises, businesses may have chances to expose their talents, goods and services, creating jobs and employment, revenue for the local economy. For example, local buses should add the tourist attractions from that towns and villages to their daily route attracting visitors to the area. There are places that are only accessible by car or far to walk.