Connect Assynt Community Bus

What do you think about a community bus?

in Community Transport by Tina Hartley
Pam has put forward the idea of community transport being available for outings - what do you think?

What would community transport look like?

I would  really  appreciate transport to Eden Court and home again (rather late).  Strathpeffer I can cope with but who knows when cataracts etc. could strike...?  
Pam Morrison
The need for community transport provision was highlighted in the 2016 Community Survey.  Through community engagement, TGDDC are finding that this continues to be a theme, but how would it work?
 
The photo, above, is from Connect Assynt who have run a successful service for some years now - can Garve and District do the same?
 
  • What are your views - do we need community transport?

  • If so would it be a bus, cars?

  • What would it be used for?

  • Share any ideas, comments you might have.

Comment

Questions & Comments

Have an opinion on this topic? Leave a comment here. Here's what others have been saying...

Jeanette Fenwick said:

I’m all for this. A great way of promoting social outings and making transport easier for all. I had the same idea, posted on the community pallet, and so hope we can get this to come to fruition. 

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Tina Hartley said:

Thanks Jeanette, yes this seems to be a very popular idea coming forward, similar to the views expressed in the 2016 Community Survey.

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Madonna Maguire said:

I also think it is a great Idea. If I am in Inverness for a night out, I either have to stay, or get my husband to pick me up. It would allow every one the option for a social night out.

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Kenny Maclean said:

Is the Assynt Bus still running?  I seem to remember last year they were on TV, radio, press looking for a funder as their money was stopping (lack of passengers???).  According to their website their funding was from 2015-2018.  There is no mention what happened next.  The website appears not to have been updated in some time and the telephone number on the website no longer works.  

Perhaps it would be worth Tina and Lucy getting some information from Assynt as the lessons learnt up there could be very useful for us down here.

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Tina Hartley said:

Thanks for your comment Kenny, we have Sheila as part of our staff team who managed this project, hopefully she will respond directly to your comment.

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Sheila Mitchell said:

Hello Kenny. As Tina said, I worked at Connect Assynt until last month. While it is fair to say that the organisation has had to downsize due to the Big Lottery funding ending, the community bus is still running and doing at least two runs a week, much to the relief of the regular passengers who would be very unhappy to see the bus go. 

It is not easy to cover the high costs of running a minibus in a remote sparsely populated area such as Assynt, but the board are keen to sustain it if at all possible, and are looking at different ways of improving their income stream.

As far as Garve & District are concerned, if community transport is to be considered, it is important that it is set up to suit our particular circumstances, in terms of staffing/volunteer mix, the size and type of vehicle(s) purchased, and the different types of routes/trips on offer. It is good to see some suggestions already coming forward in response to the post. And of course, there are other rural community transport groups to seek guidance from, as well at the Community Transport Association.

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Kenny Maclean said:

Thanks for the update Sheila, perhaps worth also talking to the South West Ross Community Car Scheme who already pass through our area from time to time and the Howard Dorris Centre in Lochcarron whos mini bus also passes through our area from time to time.  Perhaps a joint plan with one or both of these organisations might help all parties, especially from a finance point of view.

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Bertha Logie said:

Either car or mini bus would be ideal if one would be picked  up at the house.  This should be available for hospital appointments, shopping or social events.  Even a small charge would be acceptable to help cover costs

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Pamela Morrison said:

I AGREE with all  Bertha.s comments. Various financial arrangements  could be  considered  in order to make the project viable. 

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Tina Hartley said:

We could consider all options, especially thinking longer term and the move away from petrol and diesel, sure there must be lots of electric solutions possibly?

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Kenny Maclean said:

Electric car charger currently getting installed in Achnasheen.  Maybe a future project could be to get other chargers installed in Aultguish or Garve.

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John Bedwell said:

Absolutely Tina. A number of 7 seater and minibus options available. Perhaps one of these and a community car?Higher lease or purchase costs but significantly cheaper to run. Most carry other technologies that make it possible to link to booking (and find a lift) systems - availability, where they are, where and when they’re going etc. Need more research on this!

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Maggie Ross said:

Electricity is not a good car solution unless you invest in community windmills to power such. Maybe steam cars ?

O no that's lots of coal. Which could be a solution in this country which has reserves of coal,  clean coal combustion technology does exist but it's expensive.

Widespread use of electric cars involves nuclear power which has its own environmental fall out.

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Pamela Morrison said:

Lots of poßitive suggestions here,good...but please don't  think so far ahead that some of us may not be around when it takes off....

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John Bedwell said:

Pam.  I get your point entirely (and have often been critised for being impatient) - reflected in my need to respond as follows:

Suitable electric vehicles (and fast charging points - many free in Scotland, one soon to be in Achnasheen and many others within easy range of Garve) are available now.  They can also be charged over night at any property using a standard 13AMP plug (at a fraction of the cost of a tank of deisel). 

Regarding 'researching other technologies', whatever processes we need to look at in terms of organising paid or voluntary drivers, vehicle maintenance, scheduling trips, where and when people need picked up etc.etc. is arguably the more dificult bit  - and this is where 'technology' (real time communications and booking systems) may help to optimise the use of and acces to such a facility in our community.

Hope this helps??

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Pamela Morrison said:

Yes, of course it helps. Obviously your second point (organisation and communication) was what I had foreseen  as taking time and work to arrange. .I am sure that would be 'clients' will be happy to co-operate with everyone concerned. This is only a small part of the whole, I know!

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Rita Bishop said:

A community bus is an excellent idea, especially if it can be used for a wide variety of uses with a wide variety of different groups of people, young people, middle people, senior people, able bodied people, disabled people, people with a wide variation of needs. This means a community bus survives if it is used to its fullest. 

Applying for funding to own and then ensuring continuation of funding, selling not only seats but exploring other opportunities for example selling advertising space on the community bus, to to lease hire a vehicle, what are the strengths, weaknesses etc.

For such a rural community having its own community bus could be a life saver, for example working with the Highland Council to cover vulnerable people, of all ages, during bad weather periods when other support cannot manage to provide services.

Taxi runs for public houses for example would be a good way to support local businesses. Supporting young people’s football clubs and match runs.

Spread the community bus net wide, make it really feel it belongs to everyone, to all ages and backgrounds.

Yes, I like the idea :)

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Maggie Ross said:

I need a lift to garage in Conon Bridge on Friday 22nd March to get my car back from its MOT if anyone's going ? Can give some money .

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Ed Tarr said:

So much interest suggestions and comment! John Pam Sheila Kenny Rita and others should have the opportunity to get all interested in this together and start proceedings for getting a Community group going to look at the best way forward as a matter of some urgency.The possibility of integrating with other existing services initially would seem to be a quicker entry into a transport service, with a possible direct contribution of a vehicle as soon as it can be assessed?  The desirability and need is clearly in the Community so action is indicated!

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