Stagecoach agrees to have talks over express bus service for Tay Bridgehead

From left Tony McRae, Tim Brett, Neil Fergusson, Tay Road Bridge transport manager, Scott Hall, Cllr Jonny Tepp.
From left Tony McRae, Tim Brett, Neil Fergusson, Tay Road Bridge transport manager, Scott Hall, Cllr Jonny Tepp.

A campaign to have an express bus serve Tay Bridgehead passengers is gathering speed.

Bus operators have agreed to talks over the 99 service, which currently passes through the area every seven and a half minutes without stopping.

Passengers from Tayport, Newport and the surrounding area must travel into Dundee first to board the bus to St Andrews, Leuchars and Guardbridge.

After more than 300 people signed a petition by Tay Bridgehead councillors Jonny Tepp and Tim Brett, Stagecoach East Scotland agreed to meet with Tay Road Bridge management to explore a stop in the bridge car park.

Liberal Democrat Mr Tepp said: “Residents are being penalised with a double whammy of having to pay extra to spend extra time to travel to Dundee before going back to Leuchars, Guardbridge and St Andrews.

“We are pleased that Stagecoach and the bridge management have expressed a willingness to work together to identify any concerns that they have and explore how these might be mitigated.

“Stagecoach made it clear to us that they do not believe these difficulties can be overcome but we have made it clear to them that we and local people want to see them try to make it work.”

Mr Brett accused Stagecoach of taking a ‘nothing can be done here’ stance.

He said: “We think it shows a lack of concern for the needs of our residents, and whilst we could accept that not every bus can stop here, we find it very hard indeed to accept that none of the 99 buses can.

“We think it is over to Stagecoach and the bridge management to think about solutions that would provide a better service here and to try everything in their power to make it work.”

Scott Hall, Stagecoach East Scotland commercial manager, said there were concerns around safety, potential for grounding at the car park entrance and access when busy.

He added: “I am happy to meet again with the bridge management team but all of these concerns would need to be addressed before giving any consideration to diverting the 99.”

Bridge manager Alan Hutchison said risk mitigation measures would be needed to prevent conflict between buses, pedestrians and cyclists using the car park.

Fife Council passenger transport manager Tony McRae said: “It was clear from the meeting that there were difficulties and safety concerns identified that would prevent buses from being able to access the car park as it stands.

“The bridge manager has agreed to work with Stagecoach to see if these can be overcome.

“If they can overcome the physical and safety concerns then it would be up to Stagecoach to make a call on whether they could accommodate the time in diverting this commercial service, particularly at peak times when congestion issues at the junction and roundabout come into play.”