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New community bus launched to serve Lyth Valley communities
12:43pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
A NEW community transport scheme was officially launched in South Lakeland today to serve a number of villages without access to a scheduled bus service.
Lakes and Lyth Community Wheels, which is the first scheme of its kind in the county, will serve communities in Bowness South, Crook, Winster, Crosthwaite, Underbarrow and Brigsteer.
Cumbria County Council is working in partnership with members of a local steering group to provide demand-led transport to Kendal using a minibus on Wednesday mornings.
The area was previously served by the 541 bus service. It ran every Wednesday and had been financed by parish councils in the area since May 2011 but this funding ended last month.
A six-strong team of local volunteers gave up their time to successfully complete a nationally-accredited minibus driver training course and they are now on a rota to drive the 14-seater, fully accessible county council-owned minibus on journeys throughout the Lyth Valley.
People wanting to use Lakes and Lyth Community Wheels must live in the area and sign up as a member of the scheme in order to book a journey in advance.
A special promotional video showcasing the scheme has been produced free of charge by local resident Jim Bownass, of BVS Productions. The video can be viewed on the county council’s website at http://tinyurl.com/pm8pud9 and on local parish council websites.
Coun Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: "The council is proposing to stop subsidising bus services, as part of our budget proposals to save £80 million over the next three years, and instead work closely with parishes and communities to develop more community transport solutions.
“Lakes and Lyth Community Wheels is a great example of how we can work with local people to put alternative transport arrangements in place. We have been working closely with a team of local people to set up this scheme and I’m delighted it's now up and running.
“This is the first in a series of Community Wheels schemes that the council will be rolling out over the coming months to help people get around in areas that don’t have a bus service. We have invested in six new minibuses and we will be working with local steering groups to get some more schemes off the ground.”
Anyone interested in signing up as a volunteer driver or wanting to know how Community Wheels could be developed in their area should contact CCC’s Integrated Transport Team on 01228 226721. To join the Lakes and Lyth Community Wheels scheme, call Abby Barrett or Joanne Wall on 0845 602 3786 or visit www.cumbria.gov.uk/ruralwheels
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