NEW LOCAL BUS SERVICE SCHEME
The Somerset Guardian, 19th April 2023
After the combined effort of B&NES and WECA to reduce the number of buses there may be some consolation in a new fund called WESTlocal that has been set up.
The £2 million of taxpayers’ money, which has once again been provided by H.M. Government in addition to other considerable sums given to support local infrastructure, aims to ensure that public transport is available to everyone, including children travelling to school and older constituents who rely on buses to get to the doctors or supermarket. This is especially welcome following the closure of so many bus routes that has hit North East Somerset particularly hard.
The new scheme will offer scope for local people to design their own local bus and minibus services that are both affordable and non-profit. It is, I am told, entirely flexible so that residents can 'consider a range of ideas with fixed timetables, or a flexible service; and with pre-booked or “buy on the bus” tickets.'
The scheme will ensure, if there is sufficient demand, that services could run to specific places, collect and drop off people at their homes and possibly travel a 'continuous loop' for people to get on and alight at their preferred destinations. I am assured that expert advice and assistance will be given to help those seeking to roll out a new, local transport scheme.
More details about the application process for WESTlocal can be found at: https://travelwest.info/projects/westlocal/. The deadline is April 2024 but residents are encouraged to start formulating plans and working on applications immediately.
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