Local Councillor Mary Bain Lockhart is taking a radical approach to help support students to continue their studies at college campuses in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes.
Cllr Lockhart responding to complaints from Benarty based students has organised and launched a month long pilot project to address the lack of suitable public transport for students studying at Fife College campuses in Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.
With bus service provider Stagecoach reducing their service and removing bus routes to and from Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, students attending either of the Fife College campuses have faced difficulty in accessing decent public transportation to enable them to continue their education.
Cllr Lockhart is spearheading a new pilot project to tackle the decrease in social mobility. The pilot scheme will be running for one month from 2nd October 2017 with 15 places currently available to Benarty residents who are studying at either of the Fife College campuses.
Promoting the pilot project on Facebook page, Benarty Matters, Cllr Lockhart writes:
“This is not a long term fix, and we will attempt to run it for one month in the first instance, in the hope that it will persuade the college to fill the need in the longer term, and for students beyond Benarty too.”
The minibus has been donated by BRAG Enterprises Ltd and unlike other projects supported by Councillors, Cllr Lockhart has taken an unusual step for a councillor by opting to be the minibus driver for the duration of the pilot project. The expected 15 students using the service will share the cost of diesel.
Cllr Lockhart has said that her campaign on behalf of students is “so that they can get to the college with the course they want in time for 9am, and not before 8am, and not at an expense almost equal to their Educational Maintenance allowance.”
Speaking of the broader issues surrounding the decision by Stagecoach to reduce their services to Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, Cllr Lockhart says;
“Our communities also need direct public transport services for workers, who for a year have been struggling to get to and from their work in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, thanks to the withdrawal of bus services and routes by Stagecoach.”
The pilot project established by Cllr Lockhart will start on the 2nd October with the bus departing from Benarty Square at 8:15am. Places are limited to 15 students who are resident in the Benarty area. If successful the pilot may be pushed out to other communities with Lockhart expressing a hope that Fife College will be encouraged to adopt the project.