In rural areas such as Dorset, community transport plays a crucial role in ensuring that local people are able to engage in community activities, particularly at a time when traditional transport services are being cut.
Dorset County Council has been forced to make cuts to public bus services in the sum of £1.5m over two years, and in response, it has launched various initiatives to support community transport schemes.
Over the last year, 20 trial community transport schemes have been introduced across Dorset – many of them being run by Dorset Community Transport’s (DCT) PlusBus service. Dorset County Council has also been encouraging communities to set up their own transport schemes by offering grants, toolkits and supporting volunteers.
Anna Whitty, Chief Executive of ECT Charity (DCT’s umbrella organisation) says: “We welcome Dorset County Council’s continuing support of community transport, particularly at a time when local residents need access to these services more than ever. Recently, Cllr Peter Finney, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Highways highlighted the financial challenges of the Council providing subsidised transport services. Community transport provides a sustainable solution to this problem, and ensures that people in rural areas continue to be able to get out and about and engage with their local community.”
To find out more about how Dorset County Council’s is supporting the community transport sector, please see here.