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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Forth ferry link service mooted
Firth of Forth - by Shelley Thomson
A link from Kirkcaldy to Leith is among the proposals
A commuter ferry service across the Firth of Forth between Edinburgh and Fife has moved a step closer after it received council approval.

Fife Council has said a report outlining how a new ferry would operate indicates the service would be viable.

Further research will be carried out to decide whether Kirkcaldy to Leith is the best route and the service could be running by 2008.

Councillor Mike Rumney said it was "an exciting and imaginative project".

A crossing between Burntisland and Granton is also being considered.

Cllr Rumney, convener of the environment and development committee, said: "This is an exciting and imaginative project which would go some way towards reducing congestion at the Forth Road Bridge.

I hope we can make them work between Scotland's capital and the Kingdom of Fife
Cllr Rumney
"It will give commuters an alternative to the car and, I hope, become a tourist attraction opening up the south coast of Fife and contributing to the economy of central Fife.

"But a lot more work needs to be done before this can become a reality.

The report said consultants looked at various Fife ports, including Methil and Rosyth, but concluded that Kirkcaldy to Leith would attract the most passengers with an estimated 1,700 single trips per day.

'Kirkcaldy renaissance'

Two ferries would cross the Forth every half hour, each carrying 150 passengers and the vessels would cost 3m each.

Fife Council's area transportation manager for central Fife, Iain Napier, said further engineering studies are needed for both Kirkcaldy and Leith, and the cost of upgrading harbours, opening passenger terminals and providing car parks could be 10m.

Cllr Rumney said: "Passenger ferries work in places like New York and Stockholm.

"I hope we can make them work between Scotland's capital and the Kingdom of Fife. And if Kirkcaldy is eventually chosen as the Fife ferry terminal, this will go a long way towards aiding the Kirkcaldy Renaissance."

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