Neston Rural Public Transport Set to Transform
|Published: 16th March 2021 17:30|
Neston rural residents where public transport links are poor look set to benefit following a successful transport bid totalling more than £1 million.
Neighbouring MPs Justin Madders (Ellesmere and Neston) and Mike Amesbury (Weaver Vale) are delighted their constituents will be able to take advantage of a demand-responsive bus and taxi service once it is set up.
A three-year trial of the service will follow an approved application by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to the Government for £1.075m from the Rural Mobility Fund. Vehicles could include buses and taxis.
Passengers will be able to book a vehicle on one of a number of core journeys. If enough people wish to use the same route, at around the same time, then the service will run.
The proposal is for journey requests to be made through a website or a mobile application with a non-electronic alternative for those not online.
The fund aims to trial demand-responsive transport solutions to understand whether they can work better for residents of rural and suburban areas than traditional timetabled bus services.
Fares that reduce as more people travel is one of the opportunities to be tested, working towards greater ‘crowd funding' for a sustainable service.
Targeted to benefit from the service, which will potentially start in the autumn, will be residents of Elton and Ince in Ellesmere Port and Neston constituency.
In next-door Weaver Vale, the scheme will cover areas including the town of Frodsham alongside the villages of Helsby, Kingsley, Norley, Crowton, Acton Bridge, Flaxmere, Commonside, Manley and Alvanley.
And in Eddisbury constituency, the pilot area will take in Delamere, Hapsford and Mouldsworth.
Justin Madders is happy the service will cover Elton and Ince communities where for some time he has long been trying to help constituents concerned about poor public transport links.
"The lack of public transport in these and surrounding areas has been a major concern for some time," he said.
"There is a long way to go before we have the public transport links we would like, but this is a good start."
Mike Amesbury, who wrote to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in support of the trial, said: "This is fabulous news. Where there is sufficient demand, it will deliver green journeys for workers, shoppers and students while addressing social isolation in the rural area."
He added: "Huge credit must go to the Labour council for the work it has done on this."
CWAC is one of only 17 local authorities to be awarded funding from the Rural Mobility Fund.
Deputy council leader Karen Shore, cabinet member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, said: "There were 56 proposals submitted to the Department for Transport from 44 local authorities, so I'm very pleased our proposal is one of the 17 selected to progress.
"The funding could provide an excellent opportunity for us to innovate and support economic growth and activity, as well as to improve vital connectivity from rural to urban areas.
"In addition, we can improve air quality and deliver sustainable transport solutions, where otherwise travel by car would be the only option."