Expansion of Fife Bus Service to support the local economy and help those most in need approved

Today, Thursday, 1 April 2021, members of Fife Council’s Policy & Coordination Committee approved changes to local transport services to improve service capacity and coverage for those most in need and provide fairer transport for all Fifers.

Cllr David Alexander, Fife Council Co-Leader, said: “The Council’s Fife Bus Service – which provides a free door-to-door demand responsive transport service for people who are unable to use conventional public transport - is set to be extended across Fife to offer an improved service to those who need help the most.  The Fife Bus Service is key to facilitating social connection, supporting independent living and enabling access to local shops and health and community services and is highly valued by its vulnerable clients.”

“The historic rail concession scheme will also be reviewed to ensure that it best supports the local economy and takes account of pending changes to the rail service in Fife."

Cllr David Ross, Fife Council Co-Leader, added: “As part of the council’s recovery agenda, the Passenger Transport service area was reviewed in detail over six months. This review established the importance of this service area to Fife’s economic recovery and a detailed Action Plan has been agreed to implement improvements and service changes to support Fife’s recovery post COVID-19 and onwards.

“By expanding the Fife Bus Service and reviewing the rail concession scheme our aim will be to offer improved services to meet council objectives, aid recovery, and provide fairer transport for all Fifers.”

Fife Council administers the National Entitlement Card (known in Fife as the MyFife card) which provides free bus travel for those 60 plus, or an eligible disabled person. This provision remains the same. In addition, the National Rail Concession for the Blind scheme is unaffected, and Fife Council will continue to contribute £10,000 to the national scheme.

It’s widely recognised that transport connectivity impacts on the ability of people to sustain learning, training and work so is essential for economic recovery. A Workforce Mobility project, which is part of Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, will look at a common approach to concessions across the region in support of employability, and leading economic recovery.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on passenger transport services with passenger demand significantly reduced and bus operators relying on significant ongoing Government funding to operate.  The return of a strong, sustainable and vital passenger transport network is crucial to support the Council’s economic and climate change objectives.

The rail concession scheme, entitles eligible users to discounted rail travel (off-peak) between any two Fife stations for £1.00 per single journey (£2.00 fare for a return). The council reimburses the rail operators for the difference in cost of travel and allocates a budget of £375,000 (2019/20) for this purpose.