The transport minister has said local authorities introducing park and ride charges should monitor the impact of the fees.
In a letter to Mid Scotland and Fife Green MSP Mark Ruskell, Humza Yousaf said although it is up to councils whether or not to charge, “we would urge local authorities to be flexible in their approach and monitor the effects of such a charge.”
Mr Ruskell had written to the minister to raise concerns about Fife Council’s proposals for a £1 daily fee at Halbeath and Ferrytoll park and ride sites.
The MSP has called for more thorough consultation on the proposals, which the minister confirmed had not been discussed by the Forth Replacement Crossing Public Transport Strategy Working Group.
“This letter from Humza Yousaf is very revealing,” said Mr Ruskell.
“Fife Council assured me that they had discussed the planned parking charges with stakeholders ahead of introducing it in their budget in February, but this clearly wasn’t at the public transport working group.
“What is the purpose of this body if not to scrutinise plans which could have a major impact on the use of public transport across the bridges?”
He added: “If the introduction of fees leads to more people choosing to drive into Edinburgh, this will have a huge impact not just on locals in west Fife but on Edinburgh residents and businesses, and public transport operators, not to mention the environmental impact that we will all suffer from.”
Members of the public have until May 10 to share their views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
But Mr Ruskell said he was “not happy” with how that consultation is being carried out.
“There is no mention at all of the consultation on either of the park and ride websites run by Fife Council,” he said.
“I am concerned that not all users will be aware of the process and will miss out on the chance to comment on something that will impact on their daily routine.
“We urgently need to get more people out of their cars and onto public transport if we are to address environmental and air pollution issues, and charging to use these facilities is sending out completely the wrong message.”
John Mitchell, service manager for asset management and sustainable transport at the council, said: “Fife Council has represented and has helped to develop the Forth Replacement Crossing Public Transport Strategy.
“At the time of the last meting, Fife Council’s administration had not yet decided whether or not to consider parking charges at the Ferrytoll and Halbeath park and ride sites. Therefore, details of the proposal could not be discussed with a wider group.
“Fife Council will carefully monitor the implementation of the proposed charges to investigate any potential migration of parking.
“By way of comparison, the recent introduction of a similar £1 per day charge at Leuchars Railway Station car park has shown no reduction in the level of demand.”