NOTTINGHAMSHIRE residents have another week in which to have their say on how passenger transport services across the county operate in the future.
The County Council is working with partners and other local organisations to ensure that commercial bus and rail services, voluntary and community transport services and health transport all meet local needs – and to identify potential gaps in the system.
It launched a consultation in July and residents are being reminded that they have until Friday, September 14, to respond.
The move follows a successful consultation in the pilot area around Newark, Southwell and Ollerton.
People currently use transport services in Nottinghamshire for a variety of reasons, including:
travelling to education, employment and training
getting to health and social care services or appointments
going shopping and enjoying leisure activities
using buses to connect to other forms of transport (e.g. park and ride, railways and airports).
All of these services are part of the county’s transport network, but are provided in different ways. The County Council financially supports some local bus services, home to school transport, special education needs transport and adult social care transport.
However, it needs to look at changing the way some services operate in order to make sure they continue to meet essential needs and can be affordably maintained for the future.
The County Council is therefore keen to develop a new local transport network which meets local needs. As part of this process the County Council is considering the following:
expanding the role of voluntary and community transport services to cover areas such as social care, health and education-related journeys
increasing public bus services and encouraging more people to use them
making improvements such as better bus stop waiting areas
promoting accessible vehicles across the new network
reviewing any bus services that are under-used
ensuring it gets maximum use out of vehicles
sharing some vehicles and drivers across transport provider organisations
enabling children and young people to use public transport for school journeys where possible
enabling some people who use specialist transport to develop the skills to travel independently on public transport
ensuring the way that bus services are delivered supports economic development across the county.
The County Council spends over £30m per year on transport services. Reorganising and making services more efficient across the whole county area will reduce this amount by £2m over the next two years, whilst still retaining services that are important to local people.
The revised transport network may involve providing connecting services to ‘transport hubs’ in order to pick up direct bus services to key destinations. This may mean some changes to timetables, frequencies and routes which would be well publicised.
People who use specialist transport may be able to share services in future. For example, using the same vehicle to transport people who are going for medical appointments and those going to an adult social care service.
“We recognise that one size doesn’t fit all and there will be different solutions to meet local and specialist needs,” says Councillor Richard Jackson, chairman of the County Council’s highways and transport committee.
“This is where we need residents’ help. The County Council would like to find out their views on the way we intend to change transport services.
“This is a unique opportunity for residents to help shape how transport services are provided in the future.”
To take part in the consultation people can complete an online questionnaire at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/passengertransport; call the Customer Service Centre on 08449 808080; or visit their local library to complete an online or paper questionnaire.