Case for railway line restated

Starlink convenor Jane Ann Liston said,

'It is not quite clear to me what Mr Winton is saying. On the one hand he claims that a train would be little more than a 'glorified bus' and would attract few passengers, yet on the other hand he appears to be concerned that a railway attract so many people that it would affect his business. This concern is understandable but it would be perverse to deny a major generator of income for the Scottish economy efficient, fast and environmental public transport on the grounds that it would take business from taxis. The truth is that so many people travel in and out of St Andrews - tourists, students, commuters and golfers - that there would still be plenty of work for taxi-drivers. I am grateful to Mr Winton for confirming what I have gathered from talking to other taxi-drivers and from my own observations, namely that taxi-drivers do indeed have to sit for hours at Leuchars awaiting a fare and frequently have to go back to St Andrews empty. In contrast, taking passengers from a station at St Andrews to their homes only a mile or so away would be much more cost-effective for taxis.

Ten years ago the traffic coming into St Andrews was increasing by 1% per annum. That increase is now 2.5%. If visitors are deterred by high fuel prices, rather than take buses, which Mr Winton has rightly observed drivers are reluctant to do, it is likely that they will eschew St Andrews for more accessible places; there are, after all, other top golf courses which do have railway stations. However it is likely that the increase in traffic will continue, swamping the town with cars. It is well-documented that car-drivers will switch to rail if there is a convenient service, the latest example being the great success of the Alloa trains. As far back as the early 1990s the transport infrastructure of St Andrews was condemned as inadequate by the then chair of the Scottish Tourist Board. There can be little doubt that a railway would be good for St Andrews and it is time that the best way of achieving this was identified.'