Edinburgh transport: New Ferry link from Leith to Kirkcaldy would shuttle passengers 'like New York service'

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A new ferry service between Edinburgh and Fife could see three vessels shuttling passengers ‘like New York service’.

A new ferry link between Leith and Kirkcaldy has moved a step closer as a private firm has signalled interest in running a service across the Forth.

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport convener, said ‘progress is being made’ on resurrected plans to introduce a ferry connecting Edinburgh with Fife which could be progressed later this year.

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The councillor, who represents the Colinton, Oxgangs and Fairmilehead ward, said a ferry would connect the Capital with the Kingdom like the Staten Island Ferry but ‘with better views’ and be a valuable tourist attraction.

Hovercraft was tried between Seafield and Kircaldy in 2007Hovercraft was tried between Seafield and Kircaldy in 2007
Hovercraft was tried between Seafield and Kircaldy in 2007

Under proposals being published on Friday as part of wider public transport blueprint three vessels would be based in Fife.

Mr Arthur said the extension of the city’s trams to Newhaven had sparked renewed interest in links across the Forth.

It comes fifteen years after hovercraft trials between Kirkcaldy and Portobello with backing from Stagecoach boss Brian Soutar.

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Thousands of passengers boarded the 22 super fast crossings over a fortnight. The journey took less than 20 minutes. But it never got off the ground, and further efforts to revive the idea stalled.

Councillor Arthur said a ferry would have benefits for commuters and tourists alike and would also go a long way to helping Edinburgh meet its Net Zero and traffic reduction targets.

Mr Arthur told the Evening News: "In recent months I have discussed the option of a ferry link between Edinburgh and my home town of Kirkcaldy with Fife’s Councillor Ian Cameron and Gordon Brown. This was followed by discussions between Council Officers from Fife and Edinburgh, and a private company interested in running the service.”

The proposal remains at an early stage, but progress is being made. It is anticipated that three vessels will be required, and these would be housed and maintained in Fife. As well as supporting commuting, it is anticipated the service would be a tourist attraction in its own right.

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With this in mind, exploring it further forms part of a plan to improve public transport links between Edinburgh, Fife and other Local Authorities. I will publish the plan on Friday, and will table the proposal at the Transport and Environment Committee on the 2nd of February.

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