Kincardine 'cut off' from bus services to hospital
Published 8 Dec 2011 08:00 0 Comments
A WEST Fife councillor is calling for a community bus service to pass through Kincardine after highlighting that residents were caught "between a rock and a hard place" when it came to getting to hospital.
West Fife Villages councillor Willie Ferguson claims residents are facing a transport dilemma, with a long bus journey to the Queen Margaret in Dunfermline and no public transport to the nearest hospital in Larbert.
He now wants to see the H1 and H2 bus service to the new Forth Valley Royal in Larbert go through the village, as he fears residents will be further disadvantaged when acute services move from Dunfermline to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy next year.
Councillor Ferguson explained, "Around 90 per cent of Kincardine residents go to Forth Valley. It's just 15 minutes by bus but the buses are bypassing the village.
"The alternative is going to the Queen Margaret or the Victoria but to get to Dunfermline using public transport you're looking at 45 minutes on a good day and if it wasn't for the express buses it'd be a much longer delay.
"You'd need a change at Dunfermline as well, which is not so good if you're an older person.
"If people go for outpatient treatment or make a visit to the Victoria, it's about an eight-hour round-trip, by the time you get the bus, do your visiting and come back.
"It's a very uncomfortable journey for the distance and it's at the other end of Fife - can you imagine if you were an old person or a mum in labour?"
He said Kincardine residents appear to have been "forgotten" when it came to transport to hospital.
He said, "Before that they were using Stirling or Falkirk hospitals, which they had to get to by car or public transport.
"When we heard it was part of the planning conditions that community transport to Forth Valley would be put on, we thought it was brilliant, but then we found out we were completely excluded.
"I've been campaigning for a year now for the buses to come into the village but people are just seeing them go over the Clackmannanshire Bridge and not being able to board them.
"The closest point to catch the bus is at Bowtrees, south of the Kincardine Bridge, but you'd have to walk there or park your car and that's no good for older folk."
The community bus service is managed by Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire councils on behalf of NHS Forth Valley and Councillor Ferguson said changing it to go through Kincardine would only add on 550 metres to the route.
He met the councils and health board recently to discuss diverting the buses into Kincardine.
He added, "I'm fairly hopeful that we will get some service coming into the village and we're looking at other provisions as well.
"At the end of the day it doesn't matter which bus it is as long as we're getting transport."
NHS Forth Valley confirmed it had met with Councillor Fergusson and Public Transport Coordinating Officers from Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Fife councils, to discuss the possibility of diverting the H1 bus service. Any changes to the existing service would have to be approved by both Falkirk and Clackmannanshire councils.
A longer term transport solution is also being explored with Fife Council and a meeting has been arranged in early 2012 to discuss this in more detail.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 07 Dec 11
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