Response to Leuchars connections

Text of letter in St Andrews Citizen:
Dear Editor
The scenario described in Tony Waterston's letter last week, of buses at Leuchars Station zooming off in the direction of St Andrews before a trainful of passengers can reach them, will be all-too familiar to many readers. They may be surprised to know that the mere insertion of bus times into the railway timetable, plus the provision of rail information on an electronic display sign and the ability to buy rail tickets at the bus-station was hailed by the Scottish Government as a 'virtual branch line' which would cut journey times, using only the existing bus timetables and with no discount for buying a combined rail/bus ticket.
The real problem with the buses which serve Leuchars is that, with the exception of the last one at night, the station is just an incidental stop along another service, in most cases between St Andrews and Dundee. As Stagecoach representatives themselves have said, they are primarily catering for commuters and shoppers travelling to Dundee, so there is not the luggage space one might expect for a bus service which serves not just Leuchars but also Dundee railway stations; and, of course, they are competing with the railways. So the bus services calling at Leuchars Station are a compromise, with the result that nearly everyone who can, goes by car to the station.
What manner of bus service would be most attractive to rail passengers, particularly to the majority who have the option of driving? First of all it should be a dedicated service with adequate luggage space, travelling directly between St Andrews and Leuchars station, timed to connect with trains and if necessary waiting for late arrivals. Secondly, it should be free for rail passengers, like the one between Central and Queen Street stations in Glasgow. Finally, just as did the fleet of cars for the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1997, the bus should cross the track and drive onto the platform. Coming face-to-face with a bus immediately upon stepping out of the train, rather than having a long walk across a footbridge to bus-stop or car-park, would be extremely hard to resist for most passengers and just might have a chance of achieving a significant 'modal shift' from the private car which the 'virtual branch line' clearly has not.
Mr Waterstone regrets that Leuchars-St Andrews does not have a Swiss-style standard of integrated transport. I would suggest that in Switzerland, a major tourist destination and university town like St Andrews would have a proper railway service of its own.
Yours sincerely
Jane Ann Liston
Convenor - STARLINK (St Andrews Rail Link) campaign