A Week in Parliament

Stagecoach / Irvine Valley Bus Service 

Staying in the Irvine Valley I am well aware that many people feel the bus service is unaffordable. I have met with Stagecoach on this matter a couple of times and even written to the Transport Minister on the subject. [Local communities have done likewise as has Willie Coffey MSP and Councillor Elena Whitham]. So I was delighted that they have agreed to do a new trial period of more frequent buses and a much lower fare structure. As it is only a trial period I would urge people to use the bus as often as they can. My wife Cyndi has pledged to use it to go to work – the weekly dayrider ticket works out much cheaper than driving. So here is hoping we have a business model that delivers for the customers while working for Stagecoach making it an easy decision to continue with this pricing structure.  

 Killie in Europe 

As a Killie fan I was delighted to see Killie get to Europe for the first time in 18 years. While I am the MP, most people know my credentials as a Killie fan, having run a supporter's club for 25 years; was chair of the overall Supporters’ Association for a while; paid for a privileged seat and am also a member of Trust in Killie. It is such a shame that we have only received 800 tickets. I have seen some complaints on social media from some about how the club has allocated tickets to fans. But the reality is that with only 800 and demand way outstripping supply there can be no way of allocating that is going to please everyone.  

I appreciate that many dedicated supporters have attended a huge number of games over a long period. But there are also the newer fans, who by dint of their age have never seen Killie play in Europe at all. Imagine how galling it must be for some of them if they miss out? There is a logic to giving tickets to supporter's clubs, and then upholding the privilege seat aspect. And of course, players need some tickets for families. Hopefully there will be a decent number left for a form of ballot.  

I personally think UEFA’s rules fall well short. I am all for smaller teams being able to compete – however, there has to be a reasonable way of dealing with demand for clubs with larger supports. I am well aware that for the final game of the season, Killie upset Rangers fans by only allocating one stand. However, that allocation of some 4000 is still larger than many of the allocations Rangers get for other games. But for Connah’s Quay to have switched venues to a larger ground that still only has a capacity of 1500 is bizarre. They were “unlucky” that Wrexham’s much larger ground wasn’t available, but surely this should have been considered at time of entering the competition? I think working in the Killie ticket office at the moment must be way more stressful than trying to resolve Brexit!