Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards is urging communities to apply for a £20 million on-demand bus pilot for rural areas after receiving an assurance in Parliament the scheme will open soon.
Ruth told the transport minister Nus Ghani that constituents in rural areas of Rushcliffe have difficulty getting buses to towns such as Melton and Loughborough.
She asked the minister: “I am pleased that the Government announced a £20 million fund to trial on-demand bus services in rural areas last year. Can my honourable friend update me on the timetable for making that funding available and how communities can apply?
The minister replied that the pilot was part of a £220 million investment in better bus services in urban and rural areas and added: “I believe that an announcement will be made next month. In the meantime, I suggest that she look at organisations such as Arriva, which is providing fantastic demand-responsive buses, so that her community knows what sort of pitch to put in.”
Speaking afterwards Ruth said: “It’s clear this pilot will soon be announced and I would like Rushcliffe’s communities to be first in the queue to sign up.
“I understand the frustration of rural communities over inadequate bus provision and innovative solutions, like this, need to be explored as well as traditional investment. This pilot is promising in its scope and ability to be flexible and I will help and support any community who wants to be involved.”
An on-demand bus services allow passengers to pre-book their vehicle via phone, app or website and request pick-up and drop-off points. Destinations can include railway stations, council offices or hospitals.