GMPRG LOCAL AND COMMUNITY TRANSPORT PROJECT GROUP UPDATE OCTOBER 2019
This group was formed after GMPRG’s Community Vision Update survey identified local transport as being inadequate and a demand for improvement. Its membership includes representatives from GMPRG, Great Missenden Parish Councillors, Bucks County Councillor, Bucks Public Transport Department, Prestwood Village Association (PVA), Great Missenden Village Association (GMVA), Kingshill Couriers, Prestwood Area Community Transport (PACT) and volunteer local residents.
An initial meeting was held with Arriva to explore ways of improving local bus services. This was then followed by a meeting of the Project Group to review the situation and decide next steps.
As a reminder, the initial group objectives are as follows:
- To identify the demand for improving existing public transport and providing community transport within Great Missenden Parish during peak hours and off-peak hours.
- To identify possible solutions to meet that demand (eg improved public bus service, provision of community bus, links with existing taxi firms, – Kingshill Couriers, Red Kite,“dial-a-ride”, bus/train integration etc,eg PACT + 4×4 winter transport.
- To get an overview of financial viability of the options, including public bus finances via councils, and the significance of cost to the users.
- To consult with local transport providers on ways to meet the identified demand.
PROGRESS TO DATE
- The initial Arriva meeting was very disappointing. Arriva are not prepared to invest in the current Route 41 to High Wycombe. They do not consider that there is the demand, even though Great Missenden is a significant transport hub into London.
- The subsequent meeting agreed to explore the following.
a. Community Bus – Age Concern mini-bus possibly available for a 3-month pilot scheme using GMPRG volunteer drivers.
b. Dial-a-ride – could their vehicles be utilized because Dial-a-ride vehicles used for daytime appointments only.
c. Car share schemes
d. Local existing transport providers eg. taxi firms, Red Eagle buses, PACT etc.
- Several members of the Group have looked at Community Bus schemes in the past. Nearly all are daytime schemes whereas our focus is Commuters/Schools at peak times.
- A meeting was arranged with the local Dial-a-Ride, who were very willing to help if possible but concluded that they are unable to do so.
- A further meeting was held with Community Impact Bucks. They are able to provide advice on Community Bus Schemes based on the experience of existing schemes in Bucks, but again mainly daytime.
- Steve Burns, formerly of Carousel Coaches and still close to local public transport kindly advised on the scenarios to consider. The costs, legislation, insurance, the need for paid drivers and a coordinator were highlighted as being very challenging. Also, the Age Concern Minibus is not compliant.
A meeting of the Group is planned for November to consider next steps. It is evident that the financial and human resources needed to implement significant change will require very significant investment of money and people. Therefore, the meeting will focus on how this can be achieved.