Fife Scottish Omnibuses t/a
Stagecoach in Fife
ParentStagecoach Group
Founded1961 (as Walter Alexander and Sons (Fife) Ltd.)
1991 (deregulation and privatisation of the Scottish Bus Group)
HeadquartersUnit 9 Castle business centre Dunfermline, Fife
Service areaMostly Fife, with other services to Perthshire and express services to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee
Service typeLocal, regional and inter-city
StationsSt Andrews, Glenrothes, Dunfermline, Leven, Kirkcaldy, Halbeath Park & Ride, Ferrytoll Park & Ride
DepotsGlenrothes, Dunfermline, Aberhill, St Andrews
FleetMostly Alexander Dennis
Fuel typeDiesel
Websitehttp://www.stagecoachbus.com/

Fife Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, in Scotland, was formed as a bus operating subsidiary of the Scottish Transport Group formed in June 1985 from Walter Alexander & Sons (Fife) Ltd and is now part of the Stagecoach Group, under the control of Stagecoach East Scotland.

History

Stagecoach Fife can be traced back to 1909 and after buyout and mergers become part of Walter Alexander & Sons.[1] In 1961 Walter Alexander & Sons was split into three separate companies with the Fife operations becoming Alexanders (Fife) with the colour red to be used as the main fleet colour.

Scottish Bus Group was prepared for deregulation of the bus industry in 1986, and eventual privatisation, which resulted in Fife Scottish Omnibuses Ltd being created. Of the seven original SBG subsidiaries, Alexanders (Fife) was the only company to survive the reorganisation intact; it lost none of its operating area to any of the new companies formed and nor did it gain. The only impact of the shake-up was the legal name change.

On its creation, the company kept the vibrant red and cream livery adopted by Alexander's Fife operations. The SBG corporate 'Fife Scottish' fleet name style was adopted, however, in an unusually large size, and larger areas of cream were the only visible differences. Some vehicles sported Best Bus In The Kingdom slogans as part of SBG's marketing drive, rather than Best Bus In Town or Best Bus Around; playing on Fife's proud history of once being a separate kingdom.

With the arrival of deregulation came the arrival of competition. Fife had previously enjoyed being the sole operator throughout much of the region and its response to the new operators showed the company's intention to remain so. Despite the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee being on the edges of its operating area, Fife concentrated on protecting its home market rather than expanding into the cities to compete against the dominant operators there. Rennie's of Dunfermline were the first challengers to Fife in and around that town, but by far the largest and most sustained competition came from local coach firm Moffat & Williamson, who built up a substantial network of services throughout much of Fife, mirroring the larger operator's network. A "bus war" broke out across the region, and vehicles from both operators could be seen nose to tail on services such as that between Dundee and St Andrews. Fife's passenger base seemed loyal, however, and Rennies would soon withdraw from Dunfermline and Moffat & Williamson would scale back its operations, though retaining pockets of strong competition in the industrialised towns in the south of the region.

Despite the competition, Fife remained the most profitable of the SBG subsidiaries and was seen by potential buyers as the 'jewel in the crown' of the state-owned bus group. In July 1991, Fife Scottish was purchased by Stagecoach for £9.1m. The red and cream livery was replaced by the Stagecoach corporate look of red, blue and orange stripes on a white background. Stagecoach took a much more severe line with Moffat & Williamson, a strategy that drew criticism in the media for being predatory and uncompetitive. However, it was a strategy that worked. Moffat & Williamson would withdraw the majority of its competing services and Fife Scottish would once again become the sole operator in much of the kingdom, a position it enjoys today.

Now part of Stagecoach East Scotland, the company now trades as 'Stagecoach in Fife'.

During the 1980s, Fife Scottish provided coaches for Scottish Citylink, mainly from Fife to other destinations in Scotland. Since privatisation, however, Fife Scottish has built up its own substantial network of express services under the Stagecoach Express banner.

Operation

From its head office, initially in Kirkcaldy, Fife Scottish operated throughout the ancient kingdom of Fife and beyond to Dundee and Edinburgh. A network of express services also reach as far west as Glasgow.

Stagecoach is the largest operator in the region and is responsible for urban, rural and interurban services in the towns of St Andrews, Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes, Leven and Kirkcaldy. Stagecoach operate to two park and ride sites in Fife, one at Ferrytoll just off the A90 towards Edinburgh, and the newly opened Halbeath Park & Ride, located off the A92 at Halbeath, which opened in November 2013 and has departures for Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Fife, as well as the Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Routes

Stagecoach Fife has four Flagship routes:

From 2006 service 747 was introduced, which brought a new link between Dunfermline, Inverkeithing & Ferrytoll Park & Ride to Edinburgh Airport, South Gyle & Riccarton, and it was originally branded as "Airdirect" but since January 2011 the service was called "Jet 747". In 2010, the company introduced a new service, Route X42, in partnership with Fife Council to help provide a direct link between Kirkcaldy and Ninewells Hospital, via Glenrothes, Ladybank, Cupar and Dundee City Centre. This service has been replaced by services X54 and X58

Current Depots

Former Depots

See also

References

  1. ^ Fifes Trams And Buses' by Allan Brotchie:ISBN 0-905069-27-7

'Fife Buses: From Alexanders (Fife) to Stagecoach' by Walter Burt. ISBN 9781445609928