Plans to improve public transport for Forest of Dean
13th February 2014
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Anna-Marie Hitchings is the district's community transport co-ordinator and her role which is funded by a five-year £300,000 lottery grant, is to get public transport in the Forest better connected. This will mean more reliance on community and voluntary transport like Lydney-Dial-A-Ride and Lydcare, supplementing the existing Stagecoach bus routes.

One of the proposals is to provide a night bus service which has been supported by the community. However, it would mean that the community would have to become involved if this were to become a reality. "Bus routes in the Forest can be quite sporadic," said Ms Hitchings. "We're trying to raise awareness of community transport which hopefully attracts more visitors and, in turn, more volunteers. "One of the organisations I've been working with is the Forest Youth Forum and a big thing they'd like to see is a night bus."

One of the big challenges of facing Ms Hitchings is convincing residents that community transport is for everyone. The perception is that dial-a-ride services are just for the elderly when, in fact, absolutely anyone can use the service and a major campaign promoting the service is due to be rolled out soon.

The partners in the community transport initiative are Bream Voluntary Car Service, Lydcare, Lydney Dial-A- Ride, Newent Dial-A-Ride, Forest of Dean District Council, Gloucestershire County Council and the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council. Pippa English-Penfold, manager at Newent Association for the Disabled, which runs Newent Dial-A-Ride, said: "I think there's a lot of misinformation out there about what we do, particularly about costs. "My message would be "if you're not sure, call us". Wherever possible, our drivers also go with you to appointments and you don't get that service anywhere else. "I think the community transport initiative is going to become critical for the Forest of Dean with all the changes public transport has had".

Contact Ms Hitchings by email or call 01594 810000

You can contact Newent Dial-A- Ride on 01531-821227

About the Author

Martin F

Member since: 22nd December 2011

I have recently purchased the best of the Forest of Dean and Chepstow from the previous owners Paul and Sharon James. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the coming months and assure...

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